Budapest, October 14 (MTI) – Budapest Municipal Council will not have enough money to upgrade the stations on the third metro line unless budget for the revamp is raised from central coffers, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós said on Friday.
If the budget for the project remains “capped” at the current 140 billion forints (EUR 458.3m), plans to upgrade the stops will have to be abandoned, Tarlós told a press conference.
The offers the capital has received so far for the upgrade of the stops were so high that the city and Budapest transport company BKV do not have the funds to cover them, he said.
Tarlós said the national development ministry had told the municipal council that the government would be unable to cover the extra costs of upgrading the metro stops.
On Thursday government office chief János Lázár said that the government considered the metro upgrade a priority issue and that the city council should decide whether it is necessary to revamp the carriages only or the stops as well.
“We will finance whatever the capital decides to do,” Lázár said. He voiced hope that Tarlós would not draw the conclusion from disputes with various ministries that they wanted to hinder the project.
The opposition Socialists called on Tarlós to restart talks with the prime minister on government funding for the metro upgrade. Socialist council member Csaba Horváth said delays to the project were “unacceptable”, arguing that “everyone knows” that pushing back the start of the upgrade would carry serious risks to public safety. Horváth accused the government of attempting to delay the start of the upgrade until after next August’s World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. He said Budapest residents pay 20 billion forints in taxes a day and therefore can rightfully expect “to get a few days’ worth of” their money back “every forty years” in the form of a metro upgrade.