Thessaloniki assured it is on track for metro by 2012

As Thessaloniki prepares to welcome the 73rd edition of its international fair, Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias took on the task of trying to convince residents that they are not being overlooked by the government, assuring them that the city will have a metro by 2012. Souflias continued his tour of northern Greece yesterday by inspecting the work on the metro system. He witnessed the assembly of one of the two tunnel boring machines that will be used in the construction process. The minister said that some 40 percent of 18.5 billion euros being spent on public works currently being performed are being carried out in northern Greece. He then reassured the city's residents that the metro project, which has been dogged by repeated delays over the last three decades, is on course for completion in the next four years. The Thessaloniki metro will cost some 800 million euros and stretch 9.6 kilometers, with an estimated 250,000 journeys a day being made through its 13 stations. Souflias said that the government is examining the possibility of extending the metro toward the suburbs of Kalamaria and Stavroupolis. Thessaloniki residents have been assured in the past that they would get a metro system: In 2003, the then (PASOK) public works minister Vasso Papandreou said the metro would be up and running by 2008. The tender for the project had been awarded back in 1992.