The European Commission will partially finance the construction of the metro line to connect Bucharest’s centre to the Henri Coanda Airport in Otopeni
A harsh critic
of the Bucharest government for what she sees as their inability to access
non-repayable European funds for infrastructure, European Commissioner for
Regional Policy, Corina Cretu on Wednesday made the kind of announcement that
she would like to have the opportunity to make more often.
that the European executive green-lighted the allotment of 517 million euros
for the construction of a segment of the metro line to connect Bucharest's
central area to the Henri Coanda Airport in Otopeni.
The airport is
the largest in Romania and has been included by the authorities in the Large
Infrastructure Operational Programme. The European co-financing will go into
the construction of 6 kilometers, out of the total 14 connecting Gara de Nord
railway station to Henri Coanda Airport.
The project also
provides for the construction of six new underground metro stations between the
1 Mai area in the city centre and a commercial centre on the route to the
airport, as well as the purchase of 12 new trains.
by the Cohesion Fund will improve the daily lives of 1.8 million citizens who
will benefit better transport connections to several destinations in
Bucharest", Corina Cretu has explained. "I hope", she went on to say, "that by 2023,
which is the deadline for the project's implementation, Romanian authorities
will find solutions to complete constructions works on metro line 6, so that
the new segment to the Otopeni International Airport becomes operational."
European Funds, Rovana Plumb, has hailed the announcement, saying that she
expects Metrorex, the national company in charge with the metro's
administration, to start working on this project of high importance, in order
to improve transportation between the capital Bucharest and the Ilfov County.
Construction works on the new metro line are due to start in the second half of
this year. Why doesn't the European Commission finance the whole project?
According to the
Pro Infrastructura non-governmental association that constantly criticizes
Romanian authorities on how they handle the transportation sector, the reason
would be that Bucharest has not provided credible information as to the
possible flaws in the project. The European Commission has voiced concern,
among other things, that the cost estimation is unrealistic, as it is below the
average construction cost per kilometer in Romania, and criticizes the fact
that the M6 metro line does not take into consideration the construction of the
new terminal of the Henri Coanda Airport.
that Bucharest has failed to clarify, according to Pro Infrastructure, concern
an even heavier traffic on the already busy national road 1, and the
exaggeratedly optimistic estimation of the duration of construction works, of only
4 and a half years.