The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on 5 February the bank is financing major investments to improve public transport in Sarajevo, with CO2 emission reductions likely to exceed 30%, in an effort to tackle the alarming air pollution in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the EBRD, two loan agreements supported under the bank’s Green Cities programme were signed between the EBRD and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 February. The projects will directly benefit the Canton of Sarajevo, the EBRD said.

“The number one environmental challenge in Sarajevo is air quality, with cleaner and greener transport seen as one of the key means of addressing it,” EBRD Managing Director for Central and South-Eastern Europe Charlotte Ruhe said. “These two new EBRD Green City projects will provide residents with efficient and green public transport. Not only will the investments improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions, but modernisation will also have an indirect impact by supporting a shift away from polluting diesel cars,” she added.

A €20 million loan will finance the overhaul of the 19.5 km-long dual-track tramline run by the cantonal public transport operator Gradski saobraćaj d.o.o. Sarajevo (GRAS). The current tram network is almost 50 years old and with no major improvements in decades it has deteriorated significantly. New tracks will improve the network and enable the purchase of new, cleaner trams.

The second EBRD loan, of up to €15 million, will allow GRAS to buy up to 25 new electric trolleybuses. Together with the new tram tracks, the buses will improve the overall quality and comfort of public transport as well as the capacity and efficiency of the service. The upgraded trolleybus fleet will also consume approximately 50% less electricity, resulting in significant cost savings and environmental benefits, the EBRD said.

Sarajevo Canton joined the Green Cities programme in May 2017 and has since worked on developing an action plan with support from the government of Japan. Sarajevo is the third city in Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a member of EBRD Green Cities, after Banja Luka and Zenica. The programme also includes investments in the water supply network in Sarajevo.

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