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Gov't to drastically reduce financing for public transportation

The government aims to reduce state spending on passenger rail service and other forms of public transportation from a projected Ft170 billion in 2007 by Ft 40 billion by 2010, Minister of Economics and Transportation János Kóka said late on Thursday.

The government expects to reduce state-owned railway company MÁV's operating costs Ft 20 billion, Kóka said. The restructuring of Hungary's main public transport companies as well as the harmonization of MÁV's and state-owned long-distance bus company Volán's timetables is expected to save a further Ft 10 billion.

The introduction of a new tariff system will save Ft 10 billion. Kóka noted that the state subsidizes on average 82% of the cost of rail tickets. This adds up to Ft 17,000 per taxpayer every year, he added. In 2006 and 2007, ticket price subsidies for MÁV will add up to Ft 120 billion. MÁV's costs for passenger services and track upkeep are expected to rise form Ft 53.3 billion in 2006 to Ft 102.9 billion in 2007. The state plans to inject Ft 111.6 billion into MÁV in 2007 and Ft 24.4 billion in 2008. (Mti-Eco)