German State Scraps Train Project
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ German officials on Friday scrapped a euro3.3 billion ($3.8 billion) plan to build a high-speed levitating train link across the industrial Ruhr region, citing concerns over financing for the ambitious project.
The Transrapid train, developed by a joint-venture owned by steel maker ThyssenKrupp AG and engineering giant Siemens AG, made its commercial debut Dec. 31 in Shanghai, China. But cost concerns have long dogged two proposed projects in Germany, including the proposed 49-mile link between the western cities of Duesseldorf and Dortmund.
``Given the fact that the national government is only prepared to assume very limited financial risks of its own, and this state isn’t prepared to assume any, we have come to the conclusion that we must draw the line between what we would like to do and what is feasible,″ Peer Steinbrueck, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, told reporters. He also cited concerns over the link’s profitability.
A similar project _ a 23-mile link between downtown Munich and the southern city’s airport _ is still being pursued.
The two projects in Germany, dubbed Metrorapid, were slated to receive considerable federal funding _ euro1.75 billion ($1.99 billion) for North Rhine-Westphalia and euro550 million ($628 million) for Munich _ but both have grumbled it wasn’t enough.
Bavarian officials were quick Friday to urge the government to increase the federal funds promised to the Munich project now that the bigger plan has been scrapped.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has championed the technology, said he accepted the state’s decision.