Saturday, December 6, 2008

Where's the Money Gone?

This Thursday, officials from the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Ministry will give a public update on the Cycling Hungary Programme, an EU-funded initiative that's pouring EUR 250 million into cycling improvements between 2007-2013.

I've been assured English-language translation will be provided.

I'm anxious to hear more about this, as it represents a huge opportunity to promote cycling  all over Hungary, including here in Budapest. This pot of money is part of the subsidies coming into Hungary, as well as other countries in the surrounding region, in order to bring the new member states of the EU up to a European level of development. But as far as I know, no other new member state has a similar dedicated cycling fund, let alone one that's spending such a significant sum.

One of the things I like about the programme is that 70 percent of the funding is going for transport cycling as opposed to recreational or sport cycling. In this way, it has very progressive aims, although, as I've commented in an earlier post, there have been implementation problems. In Budapest, in particular, City Hall has been having difficulty putting together project proposals that are good enough to qualify for funding. 

I hope to learn more about these challenges and about what to expect in the coming years from the programme.

The four and a half hour (!!) update will be divided up as follows:
  • Welcoming
  • Background information about the Cycling Hungary Programme
  • European perspectives on national cycling politics from Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and Belgium
  • Progress reports on the programme's different priority areas (infrastructure, transport, tourism, recreation and sport)
  • The role of civil society in the next phase of the programme (2009-2010)
  • Closing

Time: Thursday, Dec. 11, 1-5:30 p.m.
Place: Közlekedési Hírközlési és Energiaügyi Minisztérium (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Ministry), Akadémia utca 3.; Tükör terem

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Krisztof Szabo at

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