Hungary to tap EU funds for narrow-gauge railroad in Felcsút

May 11, 2015

train

The government has decided to spend HUF 850 million (USD 2.2 million) constructing a 5.6-km narrow-gauge railway between Felcsút and Alcsútdoboz, the two towns in which Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (depicted here driving the choo-choo train) spent much time in his youth before his family moved back to Székesfehérvár.

The project is to be funded largely using EU Regional Operative Program funds (HUF 600 million) since this is clearly the highest and best use of such funds.

According to Hungarian financial news site Portfolio.hu, the project was given a green light despite lacking a suitable budget and marketing plan.

The latest issue of the Hungarian Gazette says the government approved an expenditure of HUF 600 million towards the cost of building the narrow-gauge railway, including road construction, lighting, parking areas, a diesel engine and four carriages.  And smartphone applications.

Felcsút is home to the “Pancso” stadium built from corporate “donations” that were made 100 percent tax deductible by an act of parliament at the end of 2012, enabling the government to claim (somewhat cynically, some would argue) that no taxpayer funds were used in its construction.

A consortium of companies led by a construction firm owned by the mayor of Felcsút Lörinc Mészáros (also pictured chuffing along on the train, behind his leader), completed construction of the 4,500-capacity stadium next to the Prime Minister’s home in Felcsút (pop. 1,600) in 2014.

Reference:

Eldőlt: EU-pénzből indulhat a 600 milliós felcsúti vasútfejlesztés, portfolio.hu; 9 May 2015.