The north-south Bi-articulated Bus Line project approved in 1995 was financed by the Inter American Development Bank, the private sector, and the Municipality of Curitiba. Background : Curitiba is the capital of the state of Parana. It is located in southern Brazil and has an area of 432 square kilometres 279 sq. mi.). The city's population in 2000 was 1,586,848 , with a metropolitan region population of 2,725,629. The Gross Domestic Product in 1996 was U.S.$15,393 million for Curitiba and U.S.$17,910 million for the metropolitan area of Curitiba. Curitiba 's GDP per capita in 1996 was U.S.$9,750, about twice the national level U.S.$4,889). The first urban plan for the city was developed in 1943 by Alfred Agache, a French urban planner. The plan assumed the dominance of the automobile and the principle approach was massive infrastructure investments, including construction of circular boulevards and major radial arteries. Due to financial difficulty in carrying out Agache 's plan and the pressure of rapid population growth, the plan for the city's urban development was reconsidered and the principal directive of the Preliminary Plan of 1965 subsequently known as the Master Plan was developed. The idea was to develop the city along linear roads in order to increase the efficiency of circulation and the distribution of services. It proposed infrastructure investment in an organised fashion, and planners hoped to facilitate the city's lagging urban development. The transit system began to operate in 1974 , when architect Jaime Lerner was the Mayor of Curitiba , and has evolved since then.