City Council in Bergen decides to build light rail via a tunnel – city leadership resigns

City Council in Bergen decides to build light rail via a tunnel – city leadership resigns

A majority consisting of the Conservatives, the Red Party, the Center Party, the Progress Party, the FNB, and several independent representatives decided to build the Bergen’s light rail (Bybanen) through a tunnel. The City Council leadership has resigned as a result.

The decision came after several hours of debate in the City Council on Wednesday. The Labor-led City Council wanted to build Bybanen over Bryggen, but they did not receive support from the Red Party (their coalition party).

Instead, the Red Party supported the opposition’s alternative, which is to lay the light rail route via a tunnel that bypasses Bryggen.

City Council chief Roger Valhammer (AP) posed ultimatum questions ahead of the vote and announced shortly after the City Council’s decision to resign.

“I take the consequence of this, and hereby announce that the City Council and I will resign,” Valhammer said, according to the newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Willing to join again

He pointed out that if new polls in the City Council end up with a majority pointing to him as City Council leader, he would be willing to become City Council leader again.

Then, however, something must happen with the decision about the light rail, he emphasized.

“Should a majority point to me, it will not be possible for me to go on again if I am to implement the tunnel decision,” he said.

The Green Party, a partner in the City Council, is fully behind the City Council leader.

“This was exactly the right thing to do by Roger Valhammer. The report that the City Council has received shows that the best tunnel alternative will be worse both in terms of public transport, costs, and cultural monuments, and not least continuous urban railway development. A tunnel decision is fateful for the future of the Bybanen to Åsane and will lead to enormous delays,” group leader Øystein Bønes said.

Support from City Council partners

The Liberal Party and Christian Democrats (KRF) also supported the City Council leader’s decision. Group leader Håkon Pettersen of the KRF called the opposition irresponsible.

“KrF fully supports the City Council leader’s ultimatum today. The City Council majority has made a deeply irresponsible decision that puts the entire urban railway project towards Åsane in danger – and they do so by pointing out what we know are unrealistic route alternatives,” he wrote to NTB.

The Liberal Party also believes that the opposition has put the whole project in danger.

“It’s shocking and tragic for Bergen, and they now have a great responsibility,” they wrote in a press release.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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