Brazil: Cleaner and Better Urban Transport for Half a Million People in Rio

January 26, 2012

· Emissions reduction will equal 25,000 cars per year.
· Access to jobs, health and education for the poor will increase.

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2012 – Better quality of life for more than half a million daily commuters, most of them poor, and the reduction of 93.700 tons of greenhouse gas emissions -equivalent to over 25,000 gasoline passenger cars per year- will be the main benefits of the Upgrading and Greening the Rio de Janeiro Urban Rail System Project, financed with a US$600 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board.

"With this project, the State of Rio de Janeiro is taking a major step forward to transform the urban rail system into a real surface metro system that will particularly benefit low-income users in the western zone (Zona Oeste) and in the peripheral municipalities (Baixada Fluminense) of the metropolitan region," said Sergio Cabral, Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

In most Brazilian metropolitan areas, lack of adequate urban transportation is a major bottleneck for development and access to jobs, health and education, and is also a major source of pollution and carbon emissions. Rio de Janeiro, with its 12 million inhabitants, faces a particularly large challenge, which affects low-income users the most. Forty-six percent of the poor residents of peripheral municipalities travel daily to the capital. A recent study by Fundação Getúlio Vargas found that lack of transport accounts for over 10 percent of patients who did not get access to adequate health services.

"Rio has achieved some impressive results in its transport sector in the last few years. Smart planning in the form of tariff integration is an extremely well targeted subsidy to the poor, representing the equivalent of about US$ 30 per month per person in lower transport costs to those who need it most. It has also increased access to employment opportunities,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brazil. “The project will allow more people to benefit from these achievements, and with more quality.”

The loan will help scale up and multiply the benefits of several important and innovative urban transport initiatives, undertaken by the State and the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with the Federal Government and the World Bank under the 2009 Rio Mass Transit II Project, of US$ 211.7 million, and the 1998 Rio Mass Transit I Project, of US$ 230.0 million.

The new loan will make it possible to expand the fleet by at least 60 new, four-car trains, increasing service availability and quality, as well as reducing travel times. This will attract more users to the system, reducing the use of private cars and buses and thus GHG emissions and pollution. It will also finance the development of a sustainable transport strategy for the State of Rio de Janeiro, including reducing the overall carbon footprint of the system, and the establishment of a natural disaster monitoring center.

The World Bank has financed over US$ 9 billion in transport projects since 1952 in Brazil, including today’s loan. The Bank’s direct partnership with the State and Municipality of Rio de Janeiro also dates from 1952, and totals almost US$ 5 billion, ranging from transport to environmental conservation and public sector management.

This variable-spread loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Rio de Janeiro is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a total term of 30 years, including 5.5 years of grace. 

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