The European Investment Bank (EIB), the finance lending arm of the European Union, has announced a €475m ($520m) loan agreement with the Brussels Capital Region to support the transformation of the City’s Metro line 3 (M3).

The agreement covers the upgrade of the existing underground metro connection between the Albert and Gare du Nord / Noordstation stops and the M3 line, the new underground metro in Belgium’s capital.

The loan is set to be repaid over 25 years. The full north-south metro is expected to be completed by 2032.

The project forms part of the city’s “Good Move mobility plan” adopting a “transversal approach to mobility”.

Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region emphasised the benefits of the new metro line.

Vervoort said: “Accomplishing Metro 3 is and will remain a priority for the Brussels-Capital Region. It will significantly reduce travel time for residents, commuters, and visitors of our capital.

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“I am therefore very pleased with the agreement that we have been able to achieve together with the EIB. These funds show the importance and confidence that both partners have in this public transportation project”.

As stated by the EIB, the loan represents part of Brussels’ plans to cut individual trips on the roads by offering valid alternatives. Once the M3 line becomes operational, public transport will become more reliable and frequent and will fit the aims of making “public transport more attractive than driving”.

The Brussels government claimed the financing represents the “largest public transport investment” since the Brussels-Capital Region’s existence.

Kris Peeters, EIB Vice-President added: “Sustainable transport is a key area of support for the European Investment Bank, also in Brussels. Last year we already agreed to provide the necessary funding to the Capital Region for new metro carriages and refurbishment of the tracks.

“With this new project, we are happy to support the region again in the further development of their mobility plan. Brussels is seeing a real growing demand for soft mobility, and as the Climate Bank of Europe, we are of course happy to support that.”