TBILISI, GEORGIA (26 July 2012) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed on 24 July 2012 $80 million in loan agreements with Government of Georgia to improve the connectivity and accessibility of the Tbilisi metropolitan area. The improved infrastructure will ease chronic traffic congestion, improve the environment and road safety, and boost growth and jobs.
The loans constitute the second tranche of the Sustainable Urban Transport Investment Program, a $300 million multitranche financing facility approved by ADB in 2010 to address urban transport issues in Georgia. “This loan will improve the efficiency and reliability of the urban transport network, create economic and job opportunities, and pave the way for a more sustainable environment in Tbilisi,” said Anand Chiplunkar, Director of the Urban Development and Water Division of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department.
This second tranche is earmarked for the construction of two sections of the Tbilisi-Rustavi urban road link and the construction of a bridge crossing the River Aragvi in the city of Mtskheta. This bridge will create more direct and safer access to this UNESCO World Heritage site. These investments will benefit the population by increasing people’s mobility and reducing travel times. The investments will be financed from a blend of concessional and commercial resources from ADB.
“These projects will be key contributors to the economic and tourism development of the 1.45 million inhabitant urban area. Nearly 130,000 tourists every year will benefit from the new bridge in Mtskheta. The construction of the Tbilisi-Rustavi road section will improve access to the center of Tbilisi and reduce congestion, road accidents, and pollution,” added Arnaud Dauphin, Senior Urban Development Specialist in ADB’s Central and West Asia Department.
These investments will also contribute to regional development, being part of the East-West corridor linking Turkey to Azerbaijan via Georgia. This is one of the key trade corridors of the Trans-Caucasian and Eurasian (TRACECA) network, and also one of the priorities of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including cofinancing totaled $21.7 billion. Since 2007, it has approved more than $1.1 billion in financing operations for Georgia.