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GEN/RER: No further delays, please!

wednesday -

Pascal Smet, Brussels Minister of Mobility, is shocked to hear that his federal colleague Jacqueline Galant doesn't foresee the financial means needed to finish the Regional Express Network (GEN/RER) in Brussels; she postpones the project until 2025. 'Our patience has reached an end', Minister Smet says. He invites Galant to discuss the matter.

While the Brussels Region is investing heavily in public transport, the federal government’s is cutting its mobility spending in Brussels. Out of the blue, Minister Galant announced today that she intends to provide only half of the necessary GEN/RER-budget, so the project cannot be completed before 2025 or even 2030. This in spite of a earlier agreement, reached by the authorities involved, to speed up the completion of the network.

'Brussels urgently needs investments in mobility', says Mr Smet. 'Out of the 350.000 commuters coming from Flanders and Wallonia to work in our capital city, two thirds travel by car. That’s 225.000 persons a day. If we want to solve the congestion problem, all authorities should jointly invest in public transport.'

The federal government spends 4,1 billion euro a year to subsidize company vehicles. Those incentives are a major cause of the current traffic problems. The GEN/RER provides a valuable alternative to commuters, yet Galant claims she lacks half a billion euro. Just do the maths, it's easy”, he adds.

Today, Minister Smet invited Galant to talk about the future of the GEN/RER. At this meeting, the possibilities for improving the service on the existing infrastructure may be discussed as well.