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Government decides on subsidy for Budapest public transport vehicle procurements

The central government has decided to subsidise the purchase of green public transport vehicles for Budapest, according to the official state gazette.

It will subsidise the purchase of 100 new trolley buses and trams from an existing 61 billion forint (EUR 166.5m) credit line extended to the Budapest municipality for the purpose of developing public transport in the capital.

Thanks to government support, 1,052 new metro trains, trams, buses and trolley buses can enter service in Budapest by 2022, according to the announcement.

Between 2010 and 2021, the government will have provided 1,330 billion forints of support to the capital for its public transport network.

Meanwhile, state treasury data show that the municipality of Budapest has cash of 224 billion forints at its disposal. The finance minister has said that the capital’s administration also has 61 billion forints in the form of a credit line provided by the European Investment Bank in cooperation with the government.

In reaction, Budapest’s mayor, Gergely Karacsony, on Facebook accused the government of engaging in “a cynical process” by limiting the capital to using an existing European Investment Bank (EIB) credit line to purchase the vehicles, a credit line that had mostly been concluded during the term of his predecessor, Istvan Tarlos. These monies also covered renovating Chain Bridge, upgrading roads and developing Blaha Lujza Square and Szena Square, he added.

The mayor said his administration had since negotiated more favorable conditions with the EIB than the financial terms of the previous credit line, but the government was “refusing to sign on the dotted line”.

Karacsony said the municipality “refuses to surrender”, adding that 1.5 million Budapest residents and, indirectly, 3 million people outside the capital would benefit from green vehicle developments, with improved air quality and greater comfort.

“I won’t give up the greatest green vehicle development in decades,” he said.

Karacsony pledged to renegotiate with the European Union bank and “if necessary, we will call on the people of Budapest to force the government to give that lousy signature”.

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