World Bank’s Strategic Investment in Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in Santa Catarina, Brazil

The World Bank Board of Directors has approved a significant financial package to enhance the transportation framework within the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. This initiative aims to establish an integrated transit network across 11 municipalities, directly impacting approximately 592,000 residents by providing more sustainable transportation options. Termed the Foz do Rio Itajaí Region Integrated Sustainable Mobility Project (PROMOBIS), this endeavour represents a focused effort to address the challenges associated with the current reliance on private vehicles and the resultant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Targeting the municipalities within the Association of Municipalities of the Foz do Rio Itajaí Region (AMFRI), the project identifies a critical absence of an integrated public transportation system, historically leading to increased private vehicle usage. PROMOBIS seeks to counteract this by introducing the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, powered by electric buses, alongside investments in road safety and non-motorized transport infrastructure such as cycleways and pedestrian facilities. This approach aims to improve accessibility and connectivity, focusing on supporting low-income communities and individuals facing mobility challenges.

A notable component of PROMOBIS is the development of a BRT control centre, which aims to enhance disaster management and emergency response. This aspect highlights the project’s comprehensive strategy to improve resilience against climate change impacts and encourage a shift from private to public transport modalities.

The project also includes preliminary studies for a potential river tunnel between Navegantes and Itajaí, exploring the feasibility of a public-private partnership (PPP) model. This investigation reflects the project’s broader objective to enhance regional mobility and connectivity.

Financially, the project is supported by a US$90 million loan from the World Bank, with an additional US$30 million contributed by the municipalities involved. It is anticipated that an extra US$42 million will be secured from private sector investments, alongside discussions with the Government of Santa Catarina regarding potential financial support. The financing arrangement includes a 22-year maturity period with a 7-year grace period.

In summary, PROMOBIS represents a targeted intervention by the World Bank to advance sustainable urban mobility in Santa Catarina. By focusing on the development of an integrated and sustainable transportation system, the project aligns with broader environmental and social objectives, addressing the pressing need for reduced GHG emissions and improved public transport infrastructure. The strategic investment in PROMOBIS is indicative of a committed approach to fostering sustainable development and enhancing the quality of urban life.