The Republic of Panama has signed a $2.6bn agreement with the Government of Japan to fund construction of a new line at Panama Metro.
Line 3 is claimed to be the largest project in Panama since the expansion of the Panama Canal, and its monorail system will be first in the Americas to use Japanese technology. It will be 26.75km with 14 passenger stations, and it is scheduled to begin in 2017, with operations expected to start by late-2021.
The first phase of Line 3 is expected to meet the demand of 20,000 rush-hour commuters in 2020, while the second phase of the line would benefit 31,862 commuters in 2050.
Panama president Juan Carlos Varela said: "The funding granted today by Japan is a recognition of Panama's credibility, stability, and strength.
"This great project will benefit hundreds of thousands of Panamanians that have to commute every day to the west side of Panama City, and will allow us to showcase Japanese technology to everyone in the region."
Funding granted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is a loan with soft financial terms and conditions. It has a 20-year term, which includes 14 years of amortisation, a six-year grace period, and three years for disbursement.
In addition to funding construction, the agreement will include non-refundable technical cooperation of up to $350,000, which will be used to hire a project manager. The project manager will support project implementation, oversee the preliminary design of Line 3, and help to develop conditions for the tender process.
In addition, the project manager will manage the overall execution, including the integration of the monorail system with the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal.