Budapest, September 2 (MTI) – The upgrade of Budapest’s third metro line will be speeded up, Budapest Mayor István Tarlós said on Friday after a lengthy meeting with the prime minister.
The government has agreed to cover any extra costs of the upgrade that are not covered by European Union funding for the project, Tarlós told a press conference after a two-hour meeting with Viktor Orbán.
The mayor said the exact amount of EU funding Budapest can get for the project was as yet unknown. But current estimates indicate that an extra 50 billion forints (EUR 161.2m) beyond the EU money will be required to cover the total cost of the project, he added. The government has pledged to cover those extra costs, he said.
Answering a question, he said the metro revamp will have to start no later than late February or early March next year. The total project is estimated to cost 135-140 billion forints, he added.
Tarlós rejected claims that it was the metropolitan council’s fault that no public procurement tender had yet been published for the upgrade. The drawn-out consultations about the project had prevented the tender from being published “and the ball was out of the capital’s court,” he insisted. The mayor said that if no tender was forthcoming within ten days, he would recommend replacing the head of the capital’s public procurement company.
Tarlós said that the metropolitan council can only buy Hungarian-made buses to replace the metro during the renovation if these exist. If there are any Hungarian bus manufacturers in the future the mayor said he would encourage them to apply for Budapest transport company BKV’s tenders.