The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the modernisation of the public transport system in Balti, Moldova’s second largest town, with a €3 million loan to the “Balti Trolleybus Department” (the “Company”) in the City of Balti. The funding from the EBRD is provided in support for the development strategy of the City of Balti and addresses one of the City’s key priorities.
The loan will enable the Company to purchase 23 new low floor trolleybuses, upgrade the existing power supply infrastructure as well as the office and maintenance equipment. This project will ensure the long term sustainability of the Company’s operations by improving trolleybus service speed and reliability, its overall service efficiency, including by optimising operational costs and energy savings, and the adoption of modern management practices.
It is expected that the loan will be co-financed by a €1.6 million capital expenditure grant from the European Commission’s Neighborhood Investment Facility (NIF).
The EBRD will mobilise an additional €0.4 million in technical assistance grants to assist the Company with the project implementation and transformation to a more commercial structure. This will also include a Public Transport Twinning Partnership to strengthen the Company’s management capacity, corporate development, and adopt best industry management practices. These technical assistance grants will be provided by international donors.
The “Balti Trolleybus Department” was established in 1972 and is currently fully owned by the City of Balti. Balti is situated 127 km north of Chisinau, it is a major transportation hub, industrial and commercial centre and home to numerous small and medium-size enterprises.
“Improving the urban transport infrastructure, while introducing modern governance and management practices are some of the challenges EBRD aims to tackle in Moldova”, said Lin O’Grady, EBRD Deputy Director for Municipal & Environmental Infrastructure. “This project is also important as we are reaching out to regions and other municipalities in Moldova, emphasising support for development beyond Moldova’s capital city where most investments were attracted historically. Ultimately, the project will help provide improved transport services to the citizens of Balti”, added Ms. O’Grady.
“Modern, environment friendly public transport is essential for the sustainable economic development of the Balti municipality. This project facilitates the renewal of over 70% of the city’s aged trolleybus fleet which will significantly improve our public transport services to serve more efficiently an increased number of passengers, and particularly the more vulnerable social categories said Mr. Vasili Panciuc, Mayor of Balti. “The present project is an ideal solution to one of the City’s key priorities, and the citizens of Balti express their gratitude to the EBRD for its support and for partnering with us in this project” added Mr. Panciuc.
Since the beginning of its operations in Moldova, the EBRD has signed around 90 investment projects in the country, covering energy, transport, infrastructure, agribusiness, general industry and banking sectors, for a cumulative amount of almost €700 million.