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The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has approved a loan of Y8,502mn (US$80mn) to support the second stage of an innovative urban transportation programme in Curitiba, Brazil.

The project improves access, security and efficiency of the urban transportation system while reducing operating costs of the trunk lines of the Integrated Transportation Network.

The modernisation of transportation in the metropolitan region of Curitiba began in 1962 in order to overcome the chaotic transportation conditions that characterised many of Latin America’s cities. The Integrated Transportation Network, created in 1980, established transfer terminals and a system that integrated both physical infrastructure and the fare structure so that several trips could be made with one ticket.

The IADB approved a US$120mn loan in 1995 for the first stage of a major expansion and improvement in the system, which also received investments from the municipality and the private sector.

The second loan is designed to increase the system’s coverage, integrate areas of the city now separated by the axis of the old interstate highway BR116/476, reduce travel times on trunk lines and waiting time for passengers and increase traffic safety.

The old interstate highway that now divides the city will be transformed into an urban avenue that will constitute a new public transportation corridor for high-capacity buses. The new investments will result in a reduction in air pollution, construction of bicycle paths, and urban enhancements, including the creation of parks and green areas.

The total cost of the project is Y14,170mn (US$133.4mn). The loan is for a 20-year term, at a variable interest rate, with a five-year grace period. Local counterpart funds total Y5,668mn.