A year ago, the capital city hall assured that it would not give up the construction of the tunnel under the Eastern Railway Station, but now it turns out that there may not be enough money for an important investment. From 40 to 100 million zlotys is needed and officials want the investment to be financed by the European Union. This, however, requires the consent of railwaymen. All this is combined with the expected lower revenues to the city’s budget, which after the introduction of the Polish Deal may shrink by approximately PLN 1.7 billion.
The tunnel under the tracks at the Warszawa Wschodnia station was to be built as part of renovation of the cross-city line and would constitute a route of the planned Millennium Route between Praga-Północ and Praga-Południe. In November last year, in response to the protest of local activists demanding its construction, the then spokeswoman of the capital city hall, Karolina Gałecka, assured that Warsaw would sign an agreement with PKP PLK on the design of this route. – At the session, we submit an application for securing funds in WPF (Multiannual Financial Forecast), then we can only sign the document – she announced. – This idea has not been abandoned, we remember about it all the time and we are open to such a solution. We are in contact with railwaymen – said the spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, “Gazeta Stołeczna” announced on Monday that, contrary to these assurances, the town hall does not finance the preparations for the construction of the crossing under the Eastern Railway Station. She also quoted the president of PKP PLK, Ireneusz Merchel, from the beginning of September: – We hope that the city will join the construction of the tunnel in Aleja Tysiąclecia at the Eastern Railway Station. All the time I hear that it is being analyzed and time is running out.
According to Merchel, railwaymen want to announce a tender in the second half of 2022, so that the contractor will start work at the Eastern Railway Station in the following year. “And then it will be too late to include a tunnel there,” he pointed out.
From 40 to over 100 million PLN
We are looking for confirmation in this matter from the current spokeswoman for the city, Monika Beuth-Lutyk. In the reply he sent, he reminds that, from April, talks with railwaymen on this matter are conducted by the vice-president of Warsaw, Michał Olszewski, and day-to-day contacts with the company are coordinated by Marek Chmurski, a plenipotentiary appointed by the president. – As part of the series of meetings, PKP PLK set boundary conditions to Warsaw related to the inclusion in the design documentation of the Warszawa Wschodnia station, prepared at the request of PKP PLK, of the road tunnel structure – informs the spokeswoman.
I states that there are two conditions: securing funds for the implementation of the scope related to the road investment as part of the reconstruction of the Warszawa Wschodnia station in 2024-2027 (estimated from about PLN 40 million to over PLN 100 million) and provision of a tunnel construction design to PLK, which could be implemented in the documentation prepared by the Torprojekt – Kuryłowicz & Associates consortium. – These assumptions generate a number of obligations and activities necessary for mutual implementation for the benefit of individual project participants, so they require agreement or agreements – emphasizes Beuth-Lutyk.
They are looking for money from the EU, they are afraid of the Polish Deal
The city is also talking to PKP PLK about co-financing a wider range of investments from European Union funds under the OPI & E (Infrastructure and Environment Program). – The position of the Center for EU Transport Projects on the possibility of covering the costs of tunnel construction with EU funding under OPI & E 2021-2027 (or another) and treating it as an eligible cost of the PKP project is such that it depends on PLK’s decision – we are waiting for a response on their part – emphasizes the spokeswoman of the town hall.
He also stipulates that the possibility of building a crossing under the Eastern Railway Station is also influenced by the planned changes to the regulations under the Polish Order: – For Warsaw, the proposals presented there in their current form mean lower income from PIT in the amount of PLN 1 billion 716 million. This corresponds to the equivalent of Warsaw’s annual income collected from municipal waste management fees and annual income from public transport tickets.
“Praga Investment Slaughter Tunnel”
– The decrease in the city’s income is a fact, but this does not prevent the allocation of large amounts to various strange things, for example over PLN 100 million for the next football stadium or the monument to the Battle of Warsaw. And such an important investment as a tunnel between two districts in Praga cannot wait for the cash register – noted Krzysztof Daukszewicz from the Agreement for Praga in “Stołeczna”.
A year ago, local community activists organized protest at the Eastern Railway Station. – If the tunnel is not built on the occasion of the construction of the diameter, the next chance will come in about 50 years, with the next renovation, because no one will tear the newly laid tracks, and the city will not spend such an amount on a local connection – argued Daukszewicz at the time. He also noted that the apparent savings on the project will make the city lose the chance to create a convenient inter-district connection and expose it to losses of up to several dozen million zlotys.
This week, activists are planning another protest, but this time – according to “Stołeczna” – they want to put up a plaque at the Eastern Railway Station with the name: “Praga Investment Carnage Tunnel”, which would refer to the battle of the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794. Up to 20,000 inhabitants of Prague died at the hands of Russian soldiers.
tvnwarszawa.pl, Gazeta Stołeczna
Main photo source: archive of TVN24