The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the municipal government of Almaty have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of a 14km light rail line in Kazakhstan’s second largest city.
Around $300m will be invested in the project, which will involve the construction of light rail tracks to replace the existing tram route between Momyshuly Street, Makateyev Street and Zhetysu Street. Part of the investment will be used to pay for new rolling stock and equipment.
EBRD said Almaty’s future light rail system, also known as fast tram, will be faster and cheaper to build than a metro and will serve as the backbone of the transport system in the city.
EBRD managing director for infrastructure Thomas Maier said that light rail will complement and transform Almaty’s public transport system.
"We believe that efficient public transport is the only way forward for modern cities," Maier said.
Almaty Mayor Akhmetjan Esimov said that implementation of the project is intended to improve the city’s urban transport system by developing environmentally friendly modern electrical transport.
"It will allow the city’s population to gain access to a more mobile and comfortable mode of travel," Esimov said. "The project will also result in a better quality of passenger transportation as well as a lower level of emissions."
The line will be the first major urban transport project in Kazakhstan to be implemented as a public-private partnership (PPP).
The EBRD will also look for investment to cover the costs for legal and technical advisers to assist the city in drafting PPP documents.