Brussels asks federal government to increase contribution to stalled metro line 3 project

The Brussels government will ask the federal government whether it can increase its contribution to the planned works on the metro line 3 project in the capital. It recently emerged that the cost of the works is higher than initially planned, prompting public infrastructure company Beliris to suspend construction temporarily.

"The Brussels government notes that national and regional capitals in most countries receive solid support from the national government or the surrounding sub-regions for the construction of metro lines, which benefit the overall economic development of entire areas," reads a communication from the relevant Brussels ministers on Thursday.

"The (Brussels regional) government will therefore ask the federal government to examine its ability to increase its contribution for the planned metro line."

On Tuesday, it was revealed that Beliris wanted to suspend the project of building metro line 3 between the North Station and Bordet because, based on the bids received, a high additional cost would apply. On Thursday, the Brussels government said a thorough investigation should be conducted into why the final price turned out so much higher than estimated.

Increased demand

Work is underway on the North Station-Albert section, but that site has been at a standstill since mid-2021 due to technical difficulties under the Palais du Midi.

Criticism was also voiced by the Association of Brussels Public Transport Users (GEBOV). The organisation says the budget and timetable are out of control, with a 250 per cent increase, which could affect the region's finances, and that the Brussels government is right to seek to contain project costs.

However, GEBOV supports the implementation of the project, as it believes metro 3 is an appropriate answer to increased demand due to population growth in the northeast of Brussels. It says current studies underestimate the future number of metro 3 users, as Bordet could become a multimodal crossroads for Flemish commuters and people travelling to Brussels airport.



The Palais du Midi in Brussels, where soil is causing delays on the construction site of metro line 3 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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