The European Union and two European development banks will provide 15 million euros ($19.5 million) in additional funding for the ongoing modernization of Yerevan’s underground metro system, it was announced on Tuesday.
Officials said the money will finance the second phase of a 30 million-euro project to rehabilitate and upgrade the Soviet-era subway built more than 30 years ago.
The project was launched more than two years ago with a 5 million-euro EU grant provided to the Armenian government. The European Ban for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank allocated 5 million euros in loans each.
The three institutions will now make the same allocations for the second phase of the project envisaging further capital investments in the Yerevan metro. The metro director, Paylak Yayloyan, and EU and EBRD officials presented their details to journalists.
“The project is continuing,” said Yayloyan. “I think we will achieve more successes.”
A written statement issued by the EBRD said the project has already “helped to improve safety, sustainability and energy efficiency of the metro.” It said the additional funding will “continue improvements.”
“The total funding is to finance refurbishment of the rolling stock, rehabilitation of worn-out track and power supply components, purchase of a maintenance trolley and replacement of water pumping stations, which pump ingress water from the tunnels,” the statement said. Water pumping costs will shrink by half as a result, it added.
The 11-kilometer-long metro has only one line consisting of ten stations. Its limited reach has always put it in a disadvantaged position vis-à-vis other public transportation means, notably privately owned minibuses.
Yerevan’s existing architectural master plan calls for the construction of four new metro stations by 2020, which is estimated to cost some $160 million. The project financed by the European donors sets aside no funds for that purpose.
Valerio Razlog, head of the EBRD office in Yerevan, said the donors will be ready to consider financing the network’s expansion in the future.