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Morawiecki on the S3 road and the tunnel in Świnoujście: “our investments”. Not exactly

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The words of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during his visit to Lubuskie, who referred to the construction of the S3 expressway and the tunnel in Świnoujście as “our investments”, sparked protests from Internet users and politicians. Because in both of these implementations there is a large share of EU funds, and sections of S3 in Lubuskie were already built before PiS came to power.

During his visit to the Lubuskie Voivodeship on April 23, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Gorzów Wielkopolski, Sulęcin and Pszczew. He talked about the investments made in this region. That day he wrote on Facebook that PiS politicians “have gone on tour and are in different parts of Poland to talk about what we have managed to do for 8 years”.

The Prime Minister wrote that in the Lubuskie Voivodship “as part of the ‘100 bypasses’ programme, we are constructing much-needed roads”. And next:

Our investments in the Lubuskie Voivodeship also include: an athletics stadium, the extremely important S3 road from Świnoujście (there will be a tunnel in a moment) south to Lubawka, the agglomeration bypass in Zielona Góra or special economic zones, which are so important for attracting new entrepreneurs.

Mateusz Morawiecki also spoke about the S3 road and the tunnel in Świnoujście in Gorzów Wielkopolski. “In the Lubuskie Voivodeship, the S3 road from Świnoujście is extremely important, and in a moment there will be a tunnel south to Lubawka. We have already built 405 kilometers of the 470-kilometer piece of the entire S3 expressway, and 65 kilometers are under construction” – he enumerated, giving the entire length of the expressway , not only in Lubuskie, but also in Zachodniopomorskie and Dolnośląskie.

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The planned completion of the construction of the tunnel mentioned by Morawiecki under the Świna River in Świnoujście she boasted PiS MEP Beata Mazurek also posted on social media a few days earlier. “Another large investment nearing completion. The approximate opening date of the tunnel under Świna has been given. The first cars will pass around mid-June. This is good news for residents and tourists. We will also keep our word with the construction of the STH. We are reliable!” she wrote on April 18.

Morawiecki’s and Mazurek’s posts, in which they boasted of the S3 road and the tunnel in Świnoujście as “our investments”, caused discussions and controversy – both Internet users and opposition members.

“Brilliant lie”, “you have nothing to do with this”, “you are trying to take credit”

The day after the Prime Minister’s visit, on April 24, Lubuskie PO politicians headed by Waldemar Sługocki, PO MP from the Lubuskie district, and Elżbieta Polak, Marshal of the Lubuskie Voivodeship, organized a press conferenceat which they spoke about the “incredible and shocking lie” about the S3 road. “Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki said that the S3 expressway within the Lubuskie Voivodeship was built by the Law and Justice government. Well, this is an incredible lie,” said MP Waldemar Sługocki. And he explained:

The construction of the S3 expressway within the Lubuskie Voivodeship, but also in the Zachodniopomorskie and Dolnośląskie Voivodeships, started much earlier. The first sections were co-financed by the European Union under the Infrastructure and Environment Program 2007-2013.

“Next Episodes [dofinansowano – red.] under the 2014-2020 perspective. In 2015, I had the pleasure of holding the position of the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development and signing contracts for co-financing these investments with European funds. (…) I consider cheating and misleading the public in the Lubuskie Voivodship, of course, as a procedure unworthy of a public official, let alone the Prime Minister, added the MP.

In turn, under Beata Mazurek’s entry about the tunnel in Świnoujście, many commentators noted that the government should not brag about the investment that was built with the participation of EU and local government funds. “And what does the government have to do with the tunnel under Świna? He didn’t give a penny, but by spitting on the EU, he wants to attach himself to the EU and local government funds. Because only the EU in 80 percent and the local government in 20 percent put money for this tunnel”; “An investment built and financed by the local government with significant support from the EU. So not only do you have nothing to do with it, you also disturb and piss on those who are responsible for it. And you still try to take credit for yourself”; “After all, PiS has nothing to do with the tunnel in Świnoujście, they did not give a single zloty for this investment (85 percent was given by the EU and 15 percent by the Świnoujście local government), and they are still hooking up to this investment” – they wrote.

So we explain whether the aforementioned “our investments” – as PiS politicians say – are really theirs.

Both investments have a significant share of EU funds

Both in the case of the S3 expressway and the tunnel in Świnoujście, the allegations against PiS politicians related to the fact that the government presents as “our” investments that were largely co-financed by the European Union. As for the tunnel in Świnoujście, these allegations are particularly valid: its construction was financed by the European Union and the city of Świnoujście, without the participation of government money.

On page The Świnoujście City Hall announced that the cost of the investment will amount to approx. PLN 915 million, of which almost PLN 776 million is co-financing from the European Union (85%). The task is implemented as part of the project “Improvement of the transport connection between the islands of Uznam and Wolin in Świnoujście – construction of a tunnel under Świna”; the funds come from the EU Infrastructure and Environment Program 2014-2020.

The remaining 15 percent investments are financed by the city of Świnoujście. As he informs: “the money comes from the commune’s own income. Undoubtedly, the support is provided by the funds that the city receives from the tax from the LNG Terminal, which was built on communal land.”

The tunnel is to connect two parts of Świnoujście: the islands of Uznam and WolinTunel-swinoujscie.pl

Also, the construction of the S3 expressway was largely financed by EU funds. This road, running from the Polish-German border near Świnoujście to the Polish-Czech border in Lubawka, runs through the voivodships of Zachodniopomorskie, Lubuskie and Dolnośląskie. The entire section of S3 in Lubuskie is co-financed by the European Union. The section from Gorzów Wielkopolski to Sulechów – within of the Infrastructure and Environment Program 2007-2013, and the section Sulechów – Nowa Sól (together with the bypasses of Gorzów Wlkp. and Międzyrzecz) – within the Infrastructure and Environment Program 2014-2020. In the first case, the share of EU funding was 74%. (PLN 1.57 billion out of PLN 2.11 billion), in the second 47 percent. (PLN 0.6 billion out of PLN 1.29 billion).

The S3 expressway runs in the west of PolandSliwers/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

The construction of all Lubuskie sections of S3 began even before PiS came to power

The accusations against the Prime Minister’s words concern not only the fact that he omitted EU funding, but also that he attributed the construction of the entire route, including the entire section in the Lubuskie Voivodeship, to his government. Data General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways however, show that the construction of all sections of the S3 road in Lubuskie started before PiS came to power in 2015. They were implemented in succession: the section Międzyrzecz-Sulechów in 2010, Gorzów Wlkp.-Międzyrzecz in 2011, Nowa Sól-Gaworzyce and the bypasses of Gorzów Wlkp. and Międzyrzecz in 2014, Sulechów-Nowa Sól in 2015.

The PO-PSL government also signed contracts for co-financing these roads from the European Union funds. The first agreement was signed on September 9, 2011, the second on October 20, 2015 (the government of Beata Szydło was appointed on November 16, 2015).

The Lubuskie section of the S3 route has been fully passable since December 2019, when the second bridge over the Oder in Cigacice in the Zielona Góra poviat was commissioned. As for the entire S3 route, drivers are still waiting for its extreme sections to be completed: in the north in the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodship from Dargobądz to Świnoujście, and in the south in the Dolnośląskie Voivodeship from Bolków to the Polish-Czech border. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Main photo source: PAP/Lech Muszynski

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