The Labor Party (AP) will support the proposal from the Center Party (SP), Socialist Left (SV), and Progress Party (FRP) when the question of the Northern Norway line is discussed in the Norwegian parliament on Tuesday, and thus secure a majority for the proposal.
The Labor Party decided at their national meeting this weekend that it would support its proposal to look into the Northern Norway line as part of the National Transport Plan (NTP).
This is different from the proposal from the Center Party, the Socialist Left Party, and the Progress Party. They want to realize the railway development outside the NTP, as soon as possible.
During the Politisk Kvarter on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday, MP Cecilie Myrseth said that the Labor Party would support both its own and the other proposal when the matter is up for consideration in the Norwegian parliament later on Tuesday.
“We are voting in favor of both proposals today. Both proposals state that the work must start. We specify what this work is. Those proposals are very similar, and there should be no doubt that we will realize the Northern Norway line, and therefore, we will vote for both proposals,” Myrseth said.
However, she emphasized that nothing is clear regarding the new line and that a comprehensive study and planning is needed before the shovel can be stuck in the ground.
“Where should the track go, how should it be built in order to be climate-friendly and modern? This project must address all these things, on a par with other projects,” Myrseth said.
“A historic day”
Among the proponents, the conversion from the Labor Party is welcomed with joy and open arms. MP Sandra Borch (SP) from Troms cheered the Labor Party’s newfound support for the proposal.
“This is a day of joy. A historic day. The Labor Party has clearly seen that our proposal goes further than they first thought. We welcome the Labor Party on board,” Borch told NTB.
SV business policy spokesman and deputy leader Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes called the AP’s support a huge breakthrough.
“Without a railway, Northern Norway would have developed into a periphery at a time when emissions are going down, and energy-efficient transport is going up. With the railway, great opportunities open up for industry and people. We will be part of Jernbane-Norge,” Fylkesnes said in a comment to NTB.
“Now the planning starts to see how the route will be designed, and not least how to ensure that the track does not weaken grazing and Sami industries – it will be important,” he continued.
113 billion kroner
In May last year, the same proposal from the Center Party, Socialist Left Party, and Progress Party was voted down in the parliament. At the time, the Labor Party said no to the proposal and argued that the project was so large that it had to get its own analysis.
The railway plan was last analyzed in 2019 by the Norwegian Railway Directorate. At the time, it was concluded that the railway between Fauske and Tromsø could cost around NOK 113 billion.
Almost half of the 375-kilometer stretch will be in a tunnel. However, such a line would not be socio-economically profitable, according to the Norwegian Railway Directorate. The Directorate’s calculations show that society would lose between NOK 46 and 109 billion if the line is built.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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