European funding has been secured for the Borders Railway project, Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown has announced.
Borders Railway will re-establish passenger railway services for the first time since 1969 from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders in 2014.
It will be financed and constructed by private sector companies, with two consortium currently bidding to win the contract and a decision to be made this winter.
A £100M loan agreement by the European Investment Bank (EIB) will ensure the Borders Railway project can secure the best value finance, Brown said.
The bidders are BAM and a consortium called IMCD, comprising Sir Robert McAlpine, Iridium Concesiones de Infraestructuras and Carillion Construction. One other shortlisted consortium, titled the New Borders Railway consortium made up of Fluor, Miller Construction and Uberior Infrastructure Investments, pulled out of the process after Fluor’s withdrawal.
The loan will be offered to the successful bidder at a rate competitive with private finance.
“The Borders Railway is a key transport project in the south of Scotland, not only improving transport links but also generating economic and social benefits, and this award demonstrates the EIB’s confidence in its worth,” Brown said.
“This loan agreement with the EIB is further acknowledgement that the re-established railway will act as a catalyst for economic growth and inward investment in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.
“Transport Scotland approached EIB in an effort to maximise value for money and this agreement will secure savings for the public purse by enabling the successful bidder to secure more economical finance, reducing the overall cost of the project.
“By bringing rail services back to the Scottish Borders over 40 years after it closed, we are demonstrating this Scottish Government’s commitment to South Scotland and the Borders Railway, as well as delivering sustainable economic growth.“