Government and Budapest City Council agree on major development plans

Hungarian version of the article: Megújuló rakpartok, bővülő fonódó villamos – Fontos fejlesztésekben állapodott meg a kormány és a főváros

March 19, 2021 at 5:00 PM

The government plans to provide 3000 Billion HUF in additional funding towards healthcare and transportation development and environmental protection initiatives, according to plans laid out by the Government Commissioner for the Development of Budapest. According to an agreement reached on Thursday, the government will finance three projects: the renewal of the Pest embankment, the southern extension of the Buda intertwining tram, and the renovation of the Kelenföld bus station with the creation of a new 1,500-place P+R car park.

The Budapest Public Works Committee reached agreements on several important issues on Thursday, the Secretary of State responsible for Budapest's Development and its agglomeration within the Prime Minister's Office announced on Thursday.

The government prepared a five-point action plan for the meeting. The Secretary of State highlighted that the government and the City Council agreed that the government would provide 10 billion HUF per year towards the Healthy Budapest Program for five years. The money will be divided at the District level. 

Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, proposed the solution, which the government accepted. The funds will allow District Councils to develop out-patient care for their residents.

Balázs Fürjes also noted that instead of increasing taxes, debt or other austerity measures, the government would provide funding for projects in Budapest.

According to the plans, the Pest embankment will be renovated, widened, made more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly (Photo: Both Balázs / pestbuda.hu)

On Thursday, the Committee agreed that the government would take over 75 Billion HUF worth of investments. This will see the embankment in Pest renewed, making the pavements wider and more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. Seating and terraces will be added to the river bank to allow Budapest residents to take possession of the embankment.

Another project is the southern extension of the Buda tram network from Szent Gellért Square through Lágymányos, and the Kopaszi Dam to Budafoki Road, to connect the University campus. The third development is the complete renovation of the Kelenföld bus station and the construction of a 1,500-place P+R car park.

Balázs Fürjes noted that according to EU regulations, Budapest would receive 80 billion HUF in development funding in the 2021-2027 funding cycle, but the government hopes to use 3,000 billion HUF of EU funding to develop the capital.

The southern extension of the Buda tram network continues (Photo: Budapest Transport Centre)

We will reach an agreement on these issues, the Secretary of State added, saying that the funds will be concentrated on healthcare, transport, green spaces and educational infrastructure.

The Secretary of State said that the government had put a green development program for Budapest on the table to renew 39 existing city parks and create educational trails, playgrounds and sports areas in the forests around the capital.

According to the plans, greens equivalent to 2,500 large football fields would be renewed. Green area in Budapest per capita would increase by 20 per cent, and 16 per cent of the total greens in Budapest would be renewed. Mr Fürjes noted that the City Council requested further consultations on the plan.

He added that a railway development strategy for Budapest and the agglomeration was also presented at the meeting. "Budapest 2040" aims to create cleaner air, fewer traffic jams, and more convenient transport. The plans would develop the suburban railway network to double its passenger numbers. According to the plans, a train would leave every suburban station every 15 minutes, connecting to three metro lines.

The Secretary of State said that the City Council had agreed with the plan's gist but would only agree to its implementation if other issues of note were clarified.

Visual of Galvani Bridge (Source: Budapest Development Centre)

Mr Fürjes claimed a difference of opinion between the capital and the government over the Galvani Bridge. The cabinet believes the bridge is necessary to decrease traffic in the city centre ad improve connections between South Pest, Csepel and South Buda. However, construction will only go ahead if the City Council supports the project.

Source: MTI | Abridged in translation

Cover photo: View of Budapest from Gellert Hill (Photo: Balázs Both/pestbuda.hu)


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