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Politicians stick by Stuttgart 21 despite polls

Published: 26 Feb 2013 16:59 GMT+01:00

Thousands again took to the streets of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg at the weekend to protest against the billion-euro building project known as Stuttgart 21.

They want politicians to scrap plans to make the station, which is currently the end of the line, a through-route, and for a simple and cheaper modernisation instead.

A poll also this week showed that 54 percent of the people in the state would like to see the project abandoned, despite a 2011 referendum and which showed a majority of nearly 59 percent behind the project.

But after it was revealed in December that the initial budget was set to rise by more than a billion euros to €5.5 billion, some locals seem to have had a change of heart.

A parliamentary committee is due to hear from Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, Rüdiger Grube, head of Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned rail company responsible for the project, and others involved. They are due to explain why the project has gone so over budget.

Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann said opinion polls could not replace the 2011 referendum.

"Considering the now-known billions of euros of increased cost and the disastrous communication of the Bahn, I can certainly understand that the poll showed a change of heart against the Stuttgart 21 project," he said.

And although he said his Green-led coalition with the Social Democrats was not considering stopping the project, he said it had a constructively critical view of its progress.

Ramsauer also said on Tuesday he thought the project should continue despite the huge increase in costs.

"At the moment it looks as if the continuation, with minimization of foreseeable costs, would be the most sensible way forward," he told public television ARD show Morgenmagazin.

"The question is not whether one can go back to zero, because that is completely impossible." The point was now to figure how to get the best resolution for the transport problems of the Stuttgart area, he said.

The original plan was to build 57 kilometres of new track and rebuild Stuttgart's main train station underground.

DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:13 February 26, 2013 by lucksi
Seeing that the old station is torn down already, there are really no alternatives now...
19:14 February 26, 2013 by Laurence F
Politicians World Wide like these monster projects; in particular transportation types; i.e. the Big Dig in Boston. They promise these grand schemes at low costs. They then drag the taxpayers into them and pull them into the black whole of higher taxes. This makes their Union puppet masters more powerful and greedier for future projects.

Your politicians will brag about these Utopians projects to get re-elected by lying to you about not just the current costs, but the future costs! Stop it now or pay now, the next day and for the rest of your lives. The irony? You will receive little or no benefit in relationship to the cost.
19:31 February 26, 2013 by IchBinKönig
These people deserve a taste of their own medicine. Guaranteed, a majority of the Anti-Stuttgart 21 folks are also Pro-Euro. So don't they also have a right to enjoy being ignored and made to pay for things they never wanted in the first place? I would consider this a present from Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, et al.
20:45 February 26, 2013 by sonriete
those people who voted in the referendum knew well the very long history of huge cost over runs on these large infrastructure projects. When have they ever not cost twice as much as promised?
04:34 February 27, 2013 by pepsionice
The general bet here....if you gaze over at the Berlin Airport deal.....there's at least a thousand screw-ups expected on this project, and you can figure it'll rise another five billion easily.
00:34 March 1, 2013 by Traumflug
The remarkable thing is, there is no such thing like a railway transportation problem in the Stuttgart area. Before Deutsche Bahn started preparing the construction site, Stuttgart was Germans second most punctual city rail station. Also, the new rail station is planned to be actually smaller and with less capacity than the currently existing one.
20:33 March 2, 2013 by Quatsch
They just can't ever leave anything alone. The old station was a landmark that hadn't changed from outside in almost a century. It should have been preserved. Would New York City consider demolishing Grand Central Station? Of course not.
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