PREQUALIFICATION bids were called at the end of August for preliminary engineering work on the long-planned fourth metro line in the Hungarian capital. Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky later confirmed that the municipality had decided to push ahead with the project, which is now costed at HF95bn.

Following earlier attempts to build the line as a privately financed DBOM concession, the Hungarian government has now agreed to fund 60% of the work, using receipts from the privatisation of various state-owned industries. Budapest Municipal Government will raise the remaining 40% through loans from EIB, EBRD and a consortium of 11 commercial banks.

Another 10 invitations to tender for work on Line 4 are due to be issued by the end of this year. Management of the project will be the responsibility of DBR Kft, an independent limited company registered by local transport operator BKV on August 4.

Now expected to open in 2002-03, Line 4 will link southern Buda to central Pest, tunnelling under the Danube. The 7·3 km first stage will connect Kelenf