The next billion-dollar project: construction site for the second main S-Bahn line in Munich
Photo: Sven Hoppe / picture alliance / dpa
Despite a drastic warning from the city treasury, the Munich city council has spoken out in favor of keeping the option of a new subway open.
"I know that many people have rumblings in their stomachs, my enthusiasm is also manageable - but I know that it is a decision for the future," said Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) on Wednesday at the general assembly, with a view to the still unresolved financing.
The background is that the possible new U9 could only become reality in the distant future - but today, in the course of the construction work for the second S-Bahn trunk line, an underground station under Munich Central Station would have to be built.
Without this "retention structure" a subsequently built stop at the main station is no longer justifiable - and without a stop at the main station, the U9, intended to relieve the existing north-south lines, makes no sense, Reiter quoted experts as saying.
The mayor warned against "preventing a sustainable subway network with the U9 now" by saying no.
Up to ten instead of four billion euros in construction costs
The city council was of the opinion that additional routes in the center were necessary for the traffic turnaround.
Today's subway is often overloaded during rush hour.
A large majority of MPs therefore voted in favor of the project and approved further funds for the holding structure.
In total, at least 662.6 million euros flow into the shell and the corresponding planning work - money that would be lost if the U9 were not built later.
The city treasury, on the other hand, had made it very clear: "We recommend getting out of the precautionary measure." The reasoning: Even if the U9 later unexpectedly received a lot of funding, the amount still to be raised by the municipality was too much for the cash-strapped city coffers.
The construction costs, which are currently estimated at around four billion euros, are likely to rise to 9 to 10 billion euros by the time the project is completed at the end of the 2030s.
Even in the most favorable scenario, Munich would have to bear 6.2 to 6.7 billion euros of this alone.
In other words: Munich may now be spending 662.6 million euros on a shell that will never be used later because the construction of the U9 is too expensive overall.
The city treasury recommended the termination of the project, although in this case a bill of 700 million euros threatened.
Deutsche Bahn would demand that much compensation from the city because without the subway station, the second main S-Bahn line already under construction would also have to be rescheduled.
This west-east route also serves to relieve the burden and also becomes a cost trap: in September, Deutsche Bahn almost doubled its cost estimate to around seven billion euros.
The project won't be finished until 2035.