Australia: The Victoria state budget for 1998-99 has allocated A$37·5m to relocate tram tracks in Melbourne as part of the Federation Square project, and A$34·8m for improving rail safety facilities. A total of A$10m has been allocated to track renewal on the Geelong - Warrnambool route.

China: The French government has stated its willingness to provide a FFr2bn loan for Shanghai’s 20·4 km light rail project costed at 10bn yuan, for which GEC Alsthom has submitted a bid. Other projects attracting French interest include the Beijing - Shanghai high speed line and an LRT project in the Pudong New Area development zone.

Latvia: The government has allocated 40·6m lats for spending on infrastructure improvements and rolling stock modernisation this year. To enable rolling stock production to resume, 795000 lats have been earmarked to pay off the debts of RVR Riga.

Philippines: The US Trade & Development Agency has agreed to fund a feasibility study for the Cebu Light Rail Transit Line. The project has involved consultancy Parson Corp and finance firm Jafferies & Co, both of the USA, as well as local company Lord Development.

Turkey: The government has approved a DM301m loan from Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau to fund construction of the 21 km Bursa light rail system. Groundbreaking was due to take place last month.

Uzbekistan: The Asian Development Bank has agreed to lend Uzbek Railways US$99·9m to renovate the 320 km Chengeldy - Tashkent - Samarkand route.