It’s rarely quiet around the light rail in Bergen.
At a time when city political parties are debating the realignment of the route to Asan, there is a new hue in the sea for city rail advocates.
On Tuesday this week, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration issued Recommend Which road projects should the government focus on in the coming years?
There they write that the Bibanen to Asane deadline should be pushed back to 2032, but 2035 is more likely. Therefore, it may take 12 years before the first sod is taken in the project.
Money is the problem
Kjell Inge Davik, director of development at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, says the recommendations are made within the funding framework set by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
– If we could prioritize completely freely without the financial framework, we would certainly have prioritized many projects, but we have to stay within the financial framework, he says.
In March this year, they proposed to start construction in 2030. But now the wallet is even smaller.
The director explains that it is difficult to prioritize projects other than those that are already well underway.
– In the current situation, the financial framework is very tight. Then I have to prioritize harder.
Davik insists that it is up to politicians to decide which projects should really be prioritized. National Transport PlanIt will be delivered in spring 2024.
Work to start in 2025
Westland County assumed responsibility for the project after the city council in Bergen agreed to a light rail line to Asan.
County Mayor John Askeland Bergens tells Dente that they are still working toward a planned opening in 2025.
He will meet Transport Minister Jan-Iver Nygaard (AP) in Oslo in November to discuss railways.
– It is not only the road administration that decides this. They only provide professional recommendations. The district mayor tells the newspaper that the rest is politics.
Thor Haakon Bakke, chairman of the Bergen MDG, is not surprised by the Swedish Road Administration’s recommendations.
– It’s the least surprising thing in the whole world. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has never prioritized bibanen, and they won’t either, says Thor Håkon Bakke at Bergen MTG.
The most important thing now, he believes, is that the city council, the district council and the government should work together to make light rail a priority in the NTP.
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