Following the four-party deal struck last Friday, which would allow Stefan Löfven to become prime minister for a second term, plans to build high-speed train lines in Sweden appeared to gain fresh momentum.
The problem is however that the four parties have not earmarked any funds specifically for the project; instead they have proposed that SEK 700 billion should be spent on maintaining and operating Sweden’s railways and roads up until 2029 and on building new infrastructure.
The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), which is responsible for the infrastructure, says that the deal does not change anything. Furthermore, an expressed desire by the four parties to speed up the construction of the North Bothnia Line could lead to other project cuts.
Green Party spokesperson Isabella Lövin has announced that the government will invite the opposition to talks on a new high-speed network between Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Talking to Dagens Industri (DI), Lövin describes a Swedish Transport Administration plan to limit train speeds to 250 km/h as “unrealistic” and indicates that the government wants rail links that would allow trains to travel at 320 km/h by 2035.
The Centre Party and the Christian Democrats are positive, although the Moderates and the Liberals have already rejected the project, which is estimated to cost SEK 235 billion. Lövin says it is not necessary to have all four alliance parties on board and she hopes an agreement can be struck later in the spring.
She believes state-owned airport operator Swedavia should shelve plans to build a fourth runway at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, pointing out that the government has not agreed to an expansion.
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