EU, public funds to pay for metro in Salonica by ’08

Renewing a pledge governments make before Thessaloniki’s annual International Trade Fair, Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that Greece’s second city will have a metro line in 2008. Speaking in Thessaloniki, Papandreou said 244 million of the 600-million-euro total will come from EU structural funds and the rest from public investments. After a 1992 tender, Greece awarded the contract to the Thessaloniki Metro SA consortium in 1999. But the Public Works Ministry said yesterday the consortium had failed to secure private bank financing. «For eight years, from 1995 until today, the Simitis government has been promising a metro in Thessaloniki,» the New Democracy party commented. Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, an ND member, complained the 2008 completion date was a blow.