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Liège funding in doubt

All work on the planned new tramline for the Belgian city of Liège has been stopped by the EU after concerns about the PPP financing model.

The EU has stopped all work on the planned new tramline for the Belgian city of Liège due to concerns about the EUR380m PPP financing model in relation to state aid regulations. This is because the operational risk has not been transferred to the Mobiliège consortium, but remains with the public body TEC Liege-Verviers. EUR15m has already been spent on preparatory work, which began in February.

Mayor Willy Demeyer told local media: “To me the project is not dead. I feel a mobilisation behind the project to find a solution… There is hope for improvement that is extremely important for the heart of the Liège conurbation. One thing is certain: whatever the technique used, there will be no alternative to a retention of the tram project in the heart of the Liège metropolis.”

The final signing for the award of the contract was scheduled for April, Mobiliège then had 42 months to complete the main works for the 11km (6.8-mile) route linking the Standard Liège football stadium to Bressoux, with an opening planned for autumn 2018. There would be 21 stops along the north-south line, requiring a fleet of 19 trams.