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Deutsche Bahn halts Stuttgart 21 construction

The Local · 29 Mar 2011, 12:22

Published: 29 Mar 2011 12:22 GMT+02:00

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“Until the formation of a new administration, Deutsche Bahn will create no new precedents – neither in construction, nor the award of new contracts,” company board member Volker Kefer said in Berlin.

In May the company will “officially seek discussion with those who will then be responsible,” he added.

The announcement followed the unprecedented political upset by the environmentalist Greens and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in Sunday’s state election in Baden-Württemberg, where the two parties are set to form a coalition.

The new alliance has thrown the future of Stuttgart 21 into question, though. For years the Greens have opposed the multi-billion-euro rail project, and last year became part of a massive protest movement that aims to halt the revamp of the city's main train station..

But the SPD has backed the project, which requires 16 new tunnels, 18 new bridges, 60 kilometres of new train track and three new stations, including a new underground through-station in Stuttgart.

SPD state leader Nils Schmid said Monday that he would support the project in the event of a referendum, saying that pulling out would burden Baden-Württemberg with major compensation damages. But ultimately the decision remained with Deutsche Bahn and the federal government, he said.

As thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Stuttgart building site to renew their protest of the rail project on Monday night, both parties called for a suspension to construction until they could come to an agreement on the issue.

The Green party's likely candidate to become the southwestern state's new premier, Winfried Kretschmann, said he foresaw problems with his coalition partners over the issue.

“We have big problem, that’s clear. It’s Stuttgart 21,” he said. “It will be exciting.”

But Kretschmann also promised a new kind of governance in contrast to the defeated conservative Christian Democrats’ style, which he called “confrontational” on the subject of Stuttgart 21.

“We will try to govern this state with consideration and measure,” he said, adding that he planned to talk “calmly” with Schmid.

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“There is good chemistry between us. We think along the same lines,” he said.

Coalition talks are expected to last through late April, with the state parliament set to elect the new premier on May 12.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:07 March 29, 2011 by Altdude
As described in this article, I am impressed that the will of the people, as expressed at the ballot box, is taken seriously. Whether a vote for the Greens was an anti-Stuttgart 21 vote I don't know, but the fact that conciliation is subordinate to power is significant.
14:12 March 29, 2011 by freechoice
awesome people power! stand up for your rights!! show them you will not be bullied! governments must all kowtow to the people!
20:47 March 29, 2011 by frankiep
-Cars are too wasteful and cause too much pollution to the environment.

-So what should we do about it?

-Stop drilling for oil. Use biofuels instead.

-So instead of using crops to feed people, we should burn them for fuel? Isn't that cruel and wasteful?

-Yes, but if more people used public transportation instead of drove cars everyone it would help make up for that.

-Great! So let's improve our public transportation infrastructure.

-NO! That will mean cutting down some trees, and it's not like we can just plant new ones somewhere else.

-Coal and fossil fuels are wasteful, cause too much pollution and are too dangerous.

-Ok, so let's use nuclear power which is safer and cleaner than coal and fossil fuels.

-NO! We should focus on wind and solar energy!

-Aren't wind and solar extremely unreliable and inefficient?

-Yes. But windmills don't look as scary.

-Wouldn't we have to cut down a lot of trees and use a lot of land for enough windmills and solar farms?

-Yes, but it's for a good cause and we can plant new trees somewhere else.

Sorry for the strawmen. I just couldn't resist. Besides, they're not that far off from quite a few conversations I've had.
23:13 March 29, 2011 by pepsionice
For those in Stuttgart who wonder how much the stall and revision, and further fight (because version 2.0 won't satisfy half the folks either).....it's at least another five billion on top of what they already anticipated.

How screwed up will be Stuttgart 21? It will actually topple the Green government in a matter of twenty-four months. Management analysis will be written for decades over the errors about to be committed....and whatever solutions people thought was to come.....will just be just a deeper pit of problems.
02:33 March 30, 2011 by Sam Green
Can these Luddites not stand the march of progress?
14:10 March 30, 2011 by JDee
@frankiep, (1) cutting down the trees in the park is maybe 5% of the S21 issue, if it were only that I would back the project. Plus you are totally misunderstanding the significance, it is not just about 'some trees', it is a joining area of the park that is used by hundreds of thousaunds of people a year that has been there for 2 centuries, this is about the protection of heritage, something that is deeply important to peoples lives, would they knock down the Eiffer tower, would Munich tarmac over the English garden? Think of the population of the city, pensioners who have seen those trees as a constant through the dark and light, can you understand the tragedy if they were now destroyed for no logical reason? ( a shopping centre! ) (2) the S21 protestors DO WANT BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORT, the project will damage rail transport in the region! Why do you think one of the main backers of the protest is the group Pro-Bahn!!

If you really understood the project you would know there is no logic behind it apart from some out-moded un-economic ideas of developement =growth=good which is useless for where we are now going ). Please, please people before you write nonsense go and spend a couple of days looking over the information provided by the protestors, If you are basing your opinion on what you have read in the newspaper or seen on the TV then you may have been duped with a lot of very clever marketing and propaganda. Remember DB even sponsors the local!

In face of todays announcement from Japan we can say that cradle-to-death costs of nuclear power stations may not be economic. Are nuclear power stations adequately insured? You need a couple of million in person liabiltiy to drive a car, how much for a nuclear power station now that we've had our 3rd major disaster? I was pro-nuke until this happened but now i think we need a re-think.

@Samgreen, we want more progress, not this re-hashing of 19th century rail and auto technology which is only good for eating up resources, it is a tragedy of the commons, real progress will be when the world is sustainable clean and we stop desroying the natural environment
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