Congested Bogota secures $415 million IDB credit for second metro line

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Metro public transportation company is seen in Bogota

BOGOTA (Reuters) - The board of directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Wednesday approved a $415 million credit line, with an initial disbursement of $50 million, to finance Bogota's second metro line, the Colombian capital's mayor said.

The underground Line 2 will connect to the city's west, said Mayor Claudia Lopez, who finishes her term this year after overseeing initial construction on Bogota's long-awaited first metro line.

"This line of credit adds to the $50 million signed this year with the European Investment Bank and to the $255 million framework financing agreement signed with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)," said Lopez, adding that the financing reflects investor confidence in funding sustainable transport in traffic-clogged Bogota.

At a price tag of 34.9 trillion Colombian pesos ($8.5 billion), Line 2 is expected to benefit nearly 2.5 million inhabitants and stretch 15.5 kilometers (9.63 miles) connecting 11 stations.

The line will be awarded via a tender process next year.

Line 1, currently being constructed by Chinese companies Harbor Engineering Company and Xi'an Metro Co., extends 23.9 kilometers overground - despite opposition by President Gustavo Petro, who wanted part of the line to be constructed underground.

The first line's total cost is estimated at 13.8 trillion pesos.

The metro is considered critical to reducing the chaotic traffic in the capital of more than eight million residents and will complement the existing TransMilenio bus system.

($1 = 4,108.40 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Sandra Maler)