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Romania: Loans Approved for Water and Highway Projects

By Lucian Ristea

Bucharest, August 5 (RFE/RL) - More than $100 million in loans for water projects and highway improvements were approved for Romania today.

Agreements were signed in Bucharest for two new projects to be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The first loan, $25 million, will improve water service in the Jiu Valley, Romania's main coal-mining region. Additional funding is to be provided by an agency of the European Union (the Phare Program), and local government and the regional water company.

In the Jiu Valley, water supply is currently limited to eight-to-ten hours a day. Also, less than half the region's sewage is treated, and pollution is a chronic problem.

The second project received a loan of $53 million and is for improvements to the Bucharest-Pitesti highway and its operation as a toll road. The road is a major link across Romania to Hungary.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved a $25 million dollar loan for a water-supply project for Bucharest. The loan is designed to aid the national government, the capital city and the local water and sewage company to make improvements in the Bucharest water supply system.

The loan finances half the cost of the three-year project, with the government, the city and the local water and sewage company to finance the other half. Since 1991, the World Bank has committed more than $2 billion for projects in Romania.