Government offers Budapest HUF 60 billion in relief, if it can finance projects

The central government decided on Tuesday to offer the city of Budapest an initial round of 60 billion forints (EUR 164.4m) in relief, if the government can take over the financing of a number of big municipal projects, the Prime Minister's Office state secretary for Budapest developments told MTI.

The government is proposing taking over the financing of the Biodome in the City Park, the Gellert Hill funicular, the extension of the tram network in Buda, the expansion of the Etele Square bus station, and a project that would partially pedestrianize the Pest embankment road, Balazs Furjes said in a statement.

He added that the projects had been designated earlier by Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of Budapest, as ones that require more central government support as well as revenue from municipal tax increases and local council loans.

Furjes said the government’s proposal is “simpler and more practical”: “Let’s develop Budapest together, but do it without tax increases and borrowing”.

He said the central government would give Karacsony a guarantee that the plans for the projects it finances would be drafted together with the municipal council and would only move forward with the approval of city leaders.

Furjes added that the central government would only take over the financing of the projects based on consultations with the local council and the needs of the mayor.

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