Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony

Budapest Mayor’s Office speculates govt ‘working on stealthy Olympic bid’

The Budapest Mayor's Office on Friday speculated that the government's motivation for fast-tracking the construction of a new Danube bridge in the south of the capital was linked to "stealthy preparations" to again bid for hosting the Olympic Games.

The Budapest municipal council had planned to approve the construction of the new Albertfalva bridge linking the Buda and Pest sides of the city through the Danube island of Csepel that would improve accessibility across the city for 250,000 people in southern Budapest, the Mayor’s Office said in a statement.

However, the government now favours building a bridge further to the north of Csepel called Galvani before the Albertfalva bridge, the office said.

The municipal council had only approved the construction of the Galvani bridge to help improve traffic flows in other parts of the city, the statement said. “But it became clear that the government had intended to achieve this by introducing a congestion fee, which it ultimately backtracked on,” it added.

The Mayor’s Office insisted that although the state secretary for development projects in and around Budapest had said that there was no new Olympic bid on the government’s agenda, the plans for the Galvani bridge and a host of sports-related government investments indicated otherwise.

The office said Budapest’s leadership wanted to improve traffic flows in the south of the capital rather than bringing traffic into the city from the surroundings.

“Plans based on old and obsolete data should be rethought and only projects that the capital and its residents need should be pursued,” they added.

The office said it was untrue that the construction of the Albertfalva bridge would also require building a 15-20km tunnel on the Buda side of the city.

The municipal council has prepared a development scheme to serve as a guideline for spending European Union funds for a liveable Budapest in a responsible way, the office said, adding that the ball was now in the government’s court to decide whether or not it supports the projects outlined in it.

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