New program will help boost exports, cut travel times and costs, and reduce road accidents
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $300 million loan to finance the expansion, rehabilitation and improvement of roads in Argentina’s Norte Grande region, connecting major production areas with local and foreign markets. The program aims to improve the accessibility, efficiency and safety on priority corridors of the National Road Network as well as feeder roads of the Provincial Road Network.
Among the program’s goals are to increase the Norte Grande’s share of the country’s total exports, reduce the number of road accident deaths, and cut travel times and vehicle operating costs.
"With this operation, the IDB continues to support Argentina's efforts to close the development gap between the Norte Grande region and the rest of the country," said Fernando Orduz, IDB project team leader.
The Norte Grande region comprises the provinces of Catamarca, Corrientes, Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Tucuman, Salta and Santiago del Estero. It accounts for one third of the Argentine mainland and is home to approximately 8.3 million people, or 21 percent of the total population.
The new program was preceded by the Norte Grande Road Infrastructure Program, which was supported by a $1.2 billion IDB loan approved in February 2007. Some of its components include engineering works for the expansion, rehabilitation and improvement of national highways and provincial roads; the implementation of measures and construction of road safety countermeasures; and strengthening the management of provincial transport agencies well as the National Roads Directorate.
This second operation will expand activities to Norte Grande provinces that were not covered by the first project. In addition, it will substantially expand road safety efforts.
The $300 million IDB loan is for a 25-year term, with a 5-year grace period and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Local counterpart financing will contribute $33.5 million to the program.
- Carlos Pauletti
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