New subway section functional one year later than planned

The subway section between Drumul Taberei and Universitate will be made functional in 2016, one year later than planned, PM Victor Ponta announced during his visit to the Fifth Thoroughfare construction site to oversee the setting up of digging equipment necessary to finalize Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) subway tunnels. He noted a significant improvement in the road traffic from Drumul Taberei neighborhood, which is currently affected by the subway construction site, will only be visible as of next fall.
“The project is off to a bad start; it was not planned very clearly in terms of financing and necessary time. The former government allocated EUR 10 million and we must provide the rest up to EUR 1.5 billion,” Ponta said.
Spanning over a total length of six kilometers, the subway section will entail ten stops: Raul Doamnei, Valea Argesului, Valea Ialomitei, Romancierilor, Parcul Drumul Taberei, Tudor Vladimirescu, Favorit, Orizont, Academia Militara, Eroilor and it will cover a pool of over 300,000 inhabitants from the Fifth and Sixth Districts of the capital. The first subways traveling on the Fifth Thoroughfare from Raul Doamnei and Valea Ialomitei to Eroilor should have been made functional in 2015.
During a discussion with representatives of the Ministry of Transport and the contractor, Prime Minister Victor Ponta remarked that authorities “are mining at least in Bucharest”. On a visit to Helsinki, PM Ponta stated Monday that Romania must utilize, not block its natural resources, in accordance with high quality environmental standards inspired by the Finnish legislation. If such standards are met, then this will no longer be a reason for not approving the exploitation.
Subway line Gara de Nord-Airport will have to wait
The Sixth Thoroughfare project for the section between Gara de Nord and Aeroportul Henri Coanda will be finalized only after the authorities are completing work on the subway section between Drumul Taberei and Universitate and the line leading to Lacul Straulesti, PM Victor Ponta also stated.
“Starting ten projects and finishing none is the worst that we can do. Suddenly, we find ourselves with three-meter-deep digging on the Fifth Thoroughfare and no money left, with a feasibility study and no money for the airport, with everything half-way all at once and no finished project. Let’s focus on this one (the Fifth Thoroughfare – editor’s note), on finishing Straulesti and then we can deal with the route to the airport”, Ponta said.
Minister of Transport Ramona Manescu met Monday with Japanese ambassador in Bucharest Keiji Yamamoto at the Ministry headquarters to talk about the Sixth Thoroughfare project for the section between Gara de Nord and Aeroportul Henri Coanda. The project was started in 1999 and, since 2010, it has received significant support from the Japanese government through a JPY 41.8 billion (EUR 300 million) loan granted to Romania.
A press release was issued after the meeting, by which the Minister announced she wishes to go through with the Sixth Thoroughfare construction, a subway section that will tie the existing network to Otopeni Airport. Former Minister of Transport Relu Fenechiu referred to this project as overly expensive and unjustified by existing traffic. The Minister of Transport pointed out she supports the construction of this thoroughfare and a potential development of multimodal train and subway stations for the first and last stop of the section, Gara de Nord and Aeroportul Henri Coanda, respectively. The Japanese ambassador in Bucharest said that, in the near future, the Japanese government is expecting a letter from the Romanian government concerning solutions for continuing the project. The next step on the part of the Japanese government will be to initiate discussions regarding alternative financing solutions, the release notes further.
Metrorex unionists request meeting at government headquarters
Metrorex unionists approached Prime Minister Victor Ponta during his visit to the Fifth Thoroughfare construction site, and requested a meeting at government headquarters to discuss indexing wages, as he does not have all the necessary information and they would present him with the real situation.
In a statement read before members of the press, Ponta explained that setting off a subway strike would be unfair and unreasonable, considering that Metrorex employees are subsidized by a budget consisting of contributions from all Romanian citizens, not just Bucharest inhabitants. He said the Minister of Transport and the Minister in charge of the Budget will continue talks with labour unions. Minister of Transport Ramona Manescu stated late last week that she had discussed with Metrorex representatives about the protest organized in Bucharest and she expects the conflict to die down following negotiations with the Minister of Finance.

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