STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Palma metro finally reopens next Monday after being closed for almost a year.
But while the opening of the metro is good news for commuters, the bad news is that building and repair costs have gone almost 50 percent over budget.
The initial budget was 235 million euros but that has now risen to 343 million euros, once repair costs of 28 million euros are taken into account.
The metro, which was opened shortly before the last regional and municipal elections by the then Partido Popular-led Balearic Government, was flooded several times during heavy rains last year before finally being closed down last September by the autonomous Department of Transport for vital repairs.

Balearic Minister of Transport Gabriel Vicens said yesterday that the 315 million-euro cost of the metro - without taking into account the cost of repairs - would result in a total of 193 million euros to be paid in interest until 2031 or payments of 15 millions a year between 2008 and 2011 and 32 million euros a year thereafter.

Vicens said the metro, which links the centre of Palma with the University of the Balearic Islands, will open “if nothing else happens” on Monday and will cost 0.90 cents per journey.

His department estimates that 1.5 million people a year will use the service.
The metro was built by seven temporary companies made up of workers from 18 companies in total.
Vicens believes this number was excessive for a project of the metro's characteristics and, in his opinion, is one of the reasons the cost was so high.

The Minister said that his department would try to recoup all the costs of the repair work on the metro and would look at three possible candidates to be held responsible, of which “he would not rule out” the head of the Department of Transport and the head of the Majorcan Rail Service (SFM) during the last Partido Popular-led administration.

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