The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to lend US$57.9 million to the Brazilian city of Fortaleza in order to improve and maintain its public transport system.
Brazil’s most densely populated city, Fortaleza is home to about 2.45 million people and has a GDP of R$42 billion ($US 16.9 billion), arising from its diversified commerce, industry and tourism sectors.
The IDB said it decided to grant the loan after it found Fortaleza’s public transportation system, which carries one million passengers a day, receiving poor ratings for its slow and disorderly services.
The project will help improve management of the public transportation system as well as upgrade the infrastructure and landscape areas surrounding targeted corridors.
According to a plan drawn up by the Brazilian government, a total of 11 kilometers of priority lanes for buses and 22 kilometers of bike lanes will be built.
The new loan is for 25 years, with a 5.5-year grace period and an interest rate based on LIBOR. Local counterpart funds for the program will also total US$57.9 million.
In October 2012, Fortelaza unveiled a metro train system to ease the movement of people and goods inside the city. Yet traffic accidents multiplied and vehicle emissions increased. The government is now planning to extend the train network to many points across the city.
Fortaleza is one of four cities – along with São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Florianópolis – chosen by the federal government to host “data center condominiums,” a program designed to strengthen Brazil’s ICT sector.
About 50,000 people died on Brazilian roads last year, according to police estimates published in January. On a per-capita basis, that is 2.5 times the average traffic death rate in Europe.