The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is set to provide a $148.2m (€125m) loan to support the first phase of construction of a new metro line in Izmir, Turkey.

The new metro service is expected to offer secure, reliable, and greener transport for about 500,000 residents in the urban district of Buca.

It will replace more polluting modes of transport and functions as a connecting link between municipal bus, suburban rail, and tram networks.

By reducing traffic congestion and noise pollution, the new metro line is anticipated to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions in the area from current levels.

Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer said: “Our project will radically solve the traffic problem of Buca, the most congested district of our city. The new metro line will connect with other urban transport links, promote modern, fast, eco-friendly and safe commute, create employment and attract investors.”

This project is being undertaken as part of an action plan devised by the municipality in collaboration with the EBRD under the Bank’s Green Cities programme.

In 2018, Izmir signed up for the urban development initiative.

Since then, it has developed a detailed phased investment programme for solving the city’s ‘most pressing environmental challenges’.

EBRD has so far supported infrastructure projects worth around $188.5m (€159m) in Izmir.

They include a $94.8m (€80m) loan and $29.6m (€25m) B-loan to co-finance the construction of the 7.2km Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere-Kaymakamlik metro track along the city’s east-west corridor.

The bank has also provided $27.8m (€23.5m) in funding for the Izmir metro system’s 85 new vehicles and a $39.1m (€33m) loan for five new car ferries.

To date, EBRD has invested over $15.4bn (€13bn) in Turkey through 341 projects.

In February, EBRD provided a new $59.2m (€50m) loan to Ukraine for the acquisition of new metro cars.