#2 A better future without the North Metro

Maxime Fontaine, Michel Hubert, Frédéric Dobruszkes, Wojciech Kębłowski, Christian Kesteloot and Pierre Laconte

This text is also supported by several people and organisations (see list below).

© For one metro more… (c) Matteo Hinant, 2022.

Translation: Jane Corrigan


Un avenir meilleur sans le Métro Nord

Een betere toekomst zonder Metro Noord


The BSI Position Papers reflect the opinions, thoughts and recommendations of the authors, and are not attributable in any way to Brussels Studies and the Brussels Studies Institute (BSI). The authors assume full responsibility for them.


Is there still time to stop the North Metro project? For the authors of this BSI Position Paper, the public inquiry for the digging of a new tunnel is the opportunity to do so. Priorities have changed (telework, energy crisis, etc). This project poses a serious threat to regional finances and, consequently, to the other policies which the Region must pursue. Moreover, the expected environmental gain turns out to be negligible and the anticipated improvement in mobility, unsatisfactory.

The “closure” in 2009 of metro line 2 in Brussels (encircling the city centre via the West Station) was an opportunity for STIB to launch a vast lobbying campaign to promote a new restructuring of its metro network. Entitled “Metrovision”1, this plan included several projects, including the development – as a matter of priority – of what would become the “North Metro” project, for which an application for planning permission was submitted. It would involve digging a 4.5 km metro tunnel from the North Station (Schaerbeek) to Bordet (Evere), as well as the construction of seven stations and a depot in Haren for the storage and maintenance of metro trains. This new tunnel is intended to extend the existing tunnel from Albert (Forest) to the North Station, which is currently being converted from a pre-metro to a metro.2 The Metro 3 project from Albert to Bordet was envisioned when the Brussels metro network was designed in the 1960s (figure below), and is the result of the perseverance of technical bodies which remained active within STIB and the administration3. The first political and administrative measures supporting this project were taken in 2009 mainly by the Socialist Party (PS) and, in particular, Laurette Onkelinx (former candidate for mayor of Schaerbeek and, at the time, president of the Fédération bruxelloise du PS and deputy prime minister in charge of Beliris)4 and Rudi Vervoort (mayor of Evere and minister-president of the Brussels-Capital Region since 2013), with the agreement of all of the other parties in power successively, as well as the Mouvement Réformateur (MR), in the opposition in the Region5 but in charge of Beliris within the federal government from 2014 to 2019, represented by Didier Reynders.

1971 metro project

Source: HUBERT M., LEBRUN K., HUYNEN P. et DOBRUSZKES F., 2013. Daily mobility in Brussels: challenges, tools and priority undertakings, In : Brussels Studies, BSI synopsis, no. 71, 18/09/2013. Available at: https://journals.openedition.org/brussels/1188

From the outset, the shield technique – which allows a new tunnel to be bored at great depth without demolishing the surface – was considered in order to avoid repeating the trauma of the metro drainage in Molenbeek, it was said6. This explains why the new stations are all planned to be at a depth of 25 to 30 metres,7 which is deeper than the deepest existing station in Brussels (Botanique, 22 metres).

The purpose of this BSI Position Paper is to highlight the main issues and risks of this project, to place it in its budgetary context and to consider alternatives.

A project from the past which does not meet the needs of the present or the future

A project with different justifications

The purpose of the project has evolved more than once.

In 2009, Beliris awarded an integrated contract to the private consortium Bureau Métro Nord (BMN),8 ranging from the feasibility study to the supervision of the construction site, if necessary, in addition to detailed technical studies. This was the original sin: could we imagine the consortium sawing off the branch it was sitting on and depriving itself of the continuation of a public contract worth millions of euros? Its first study was a “socio-economic and strategic feasibility study”. It was completed in 2012 and was accompanied by a press release9 which called upon the objectives of the regional mobility plan (IRIS 2 plan) and its goals of reducing the modal share of cars and increasing the quality and comfort of public transport, even though tramline 55 was saturated and would be difficult to improve. In the beginning, there was clearly an environmental objective which was put forward.

However, the BMN consortium itself admitted that the expected reduction in car traffic would be extremely small in the absence of a congestion charge.10 The environmental argument fell apart. The only thing left was the saturation of tramline 55.

STIB in particular (Beliris merely said that it carried out the tasks entrusted to it by the federal and regional political authorities) then focused its arguments on this saturation in Schaerbeek and Evere. Indeed, the situation during rush hours was not very pleasant for the passengers on tramline 55. STIB argued that increasing the length of the trams would only provide a temporary solution and that increasing the frequency would create a capacity problem at the Rogier terminus, which was a problem it had created itself by ending the line at that station rather than allowing it to cross the city towards the south.

An “optimisation” which leaves much to be desired

Finally, the environmental impact assessment (EIA)11 of the North-Bordet tunnel project, which is supposed to “optimise” the public transport network in this part of the Region, was made available during the public inquiry in March 2022.

The authors of the EIA do not question the low modal shift resulting from the North Metro.12 They acknowledge that the capacity of tramline 55 could be increased by 40 %, in particular by using longer vehicles. However, this could prove sufficient given the decrease in population growth13 and new travel habits, in particular the development of teleworking14 as well as the increase in the use of bicycles since the COVID crisis. Paradoxically, these latter elements were not studied in the EIA, which was approved in July 2021 and was based on data from well before the health crisis.

In addition, a detailed mobility study has not been conducted to determine the travel needs of the populations in question (origins, destinations, etc.). Yet tramline 55 is mainly used for short distances (1.85 to 2 km on average, depending on the type of day15), and not to travel from Evere or Schaerbeek to Albert. Therefore, replacing it with a metro line would not save time for most current tram users. Indeed, the distances between the metro stations are greater (7 stations instead of 13 stops) and the time to get off the metro, at a depth of nearly 30 m, is considerable (3 or 4 minutes for a person in good health, who is not loaded or accompanied by small children). Although the underground vehicle is faster, the traveller has to walk longer to reach the platform and the final destination. Not to mention the very likely restructuring of the current bus and tram network in order to transfer certain lines to the metro, with the waiting times and longer journeys which this would entail.16

Travel time is by far not the only determining factor of modal choice, and 40 % of the inhabitants of Brussels – and up to 60 % in the area under consideration – simply do not have a choice because they do not own a car17. Cost, the number of transfers and their level of inconvenience, travelling in the open air or underground, safety and the feeling of security, proximity of stops, etc. are other very important elements in the choice of public transport, which are inherent in it18 and do not work in favour of the metro, especially if it is built deep underground. One can therefore seriously question the benefits of a possible North Metro for the inhabitants of Schaerbeek and Evere who have to travel by public transport.

A financially unmanageable project

The uncertain cost of the project

The budget required to build a metro line from Albert to Bordet is very uncertain: for example, it was estimated at 1.66 billion in 2017 and increased to 2.3 billion in February 2022,19 and already additional costs are expected.20 This budgetary uncertainty goes hand in hand with the uncertainty of deadlines. Originally scheduled for 2018, the project’s completion has now been deferred to 2032. Naturally, any extension increases the project costs.

Major transport projects often incur significant additional costs. Flyvbjerg et al.21 analysed 258 transport projects around the world over 70 years.22 They concluded that rail projects have the most significant budgetary drifts (+44.7 % on average, compared to 27.6 % for all projects studied). They conclude that budget forecasts do not improve over time as one might have hoped, because lessons are not learned from past mistakes. Flyvbjerg et al.23 identified a list of causes of these increases which vary between deliberate lies and psychological factors: deception by project promoters in order to obtain the support of political decision-makers, deception by contractors who have an economic interest in the completion of the project, conducting studies which meet the expectations of hierarchical superiors or public authorities, etc. As regards the extension towards Bordet, 15 % of the total reserved for unforeseen costs24 is therefore greatly insufficient, especially considering the risks related to the nature of the subsoil in this part of the city. The tunnel is planned to be built in loose layers below the water table.25

Project funding and possible “solutions”

Even without taking into account the potential extra costs, the Metro 3 project represents a significant financial burden for the Brussels-Capital Region, equivalent to half of the Region’s revenue for one year26. Spread out over the duration of the work, these investments are nonetheless considerable in view of the Region’s deficit (570.5 million euros in 202227) and the level of debt expected at the end of 2022 (8.6 billion euros). This debt is estimated to be 304 % of the Region’s revenue by 202628, the highest ratio of debt to revenue of any of the federated entities. While the Brussels Region finances its debt with loans whose interest rates are currently low, there is every reason to believe that they could rise in the near future, in a complex international geopolitical context with historically high inflation.29

The announced deficit is also an underestimated indicator of reality as it does not take “strategic investments” into account. These exceptional expenses are not included in the calculation of the deficit in the European accounts sense.30 Nevertheless, an additional 397 million will have to be borrowed in 202231 to finance almost exclusively STIB-related expenses.

The impact on all regional policies

The Brussels Minister for Budget and Finance, Sven Gatz, recently acknowledged that the impact of the North Metro on public finances was so great that it would be “unsustainable”32 to continue investing in mobility in this way. He then proposed in the press that the entire Beliris budget should be used for this project, i.e. 125 million euros per year instead of the 50 million planned for the North Metro.33 However, this “solution” would mean that public interest projects such as the renovation of social housing,34 municipal swimming pools35 or parks36 would no longer be financed, establishing a de facto hierarchy between these objectives.

This brings us to the decisive question: does the North Metro deserve to be given such a large share of the resources available to the Region? Even if we accept large deficits and activate all of the European mechanisms to limit their impact, the resources which can be committed to regional policies are limited. While mobility is a major issue for Brussels, other broader and more urgent priorities such as climate, energy and housing also deserve the attention of policymakers. More than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in the Brussels Region come from energy consumption in buildings and the cost of this is soaring in the current international context. It is estimated that 30 % of the buildings in Brussels are not insulated, and that 34 % of the houses and 26 % of the flats have the worst energy rating (G).37 In particular, in the most disadvantaged area of the Region, with a majority of private rented housing, insulation and efficient heating systems should become a priority. The cost of these investments requires much greater resources than for the North Metro, but for a higher social and environmental return. Thus, the Brussels Minister for the Environment estimated the total cost for the entire built environment of the Region at 28.7 billion euros.38 Part of this cost should be borne by the private sector. But without financial support from the Region, this will never happen.

Thus, the North Metro comes too late and contributes too little to the fight against climate change and for energy self-sufficiency, which concerns more and more Brussels residents in their daily reality. Should these priorities be postponed for an expensive metro line, whose justification is based on outdated data and which would therefore fail to meet present and future needs?

What are the alternatives?

Given the budgetary situation and the uncertainties of the project, a moratorium on the project seems essential. The time has come to consider keeping the trams (pre-metro) in the existing Albert-North tunnel (which is still possible) and to rethink the networking of the upstream and downstream neighbourhoods, taking into account the works under way between the South Station and Anneessens, which should improve the flow of trams there. This would also allow the behavioural changes taking place to be considered and all of the existing possibilities for improving the surface network to be explored, including those envisaged by the EIA.

What we need today are more resilient transport solutions which can be adapted to changing practices and needs. The addition of new infrastructures should be considered much less readily and should give way to a new approach which is aimed more at repairing the city39 and taking care of, adapting or converting existing infrastructures. It is a matter of breaking away from the grand narrative of progress and the vision of the future of the 1950s and 1960s40, and of shifting the approach from that of construction to that of the improvement of what already exists, or, in other words, of entering the era of maintenance41.

The environmental analysis of projects must include a “life cycle analysis”, i.e. not only the consequences of operating new transport services, but also the impact of their construction and maintenance.42 From this point of view, the estimated carbon footprint of the construction of the Albert-North tunnel43 suggests that it will never be compensated, even over 50 years, by the small modal shift from car to public transport which the project is expected to bring about.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that the North Metro project has a high cost for a negligible environmental gain and public transport mobility which will certainly improve for certain specific routes but will probably become worse for many inhabitants of Schaerbeek and Evere due to the stations being very deep underground and the reduction in their number compared to tramline 55. Furthermore, the tunnel to be built carries significant geotechnical risks which contain the seeds of an uncontrollable escalation of the cost of the project. Thus, the North Metro project is nothing less than a threat to regional finances and, consequently, to all public policies in Brussels. Will we have to stop insulating housing or renovating social housing because the North Metro will have taken up too much of the expenditure? The question is raised as to the appropriateness of this expenditure.

To summarise the situation simply, the cost/benefit/risk balance of the North Metro project is unfavourable. Even worse, this balance is likely to deteriorate further in relation to the studies currently available, which have not seen fit to take into account structural telework, whose implementation has been accelerated by the health crisis, and whose consequences are not yet known. Yet telework is a real game changer. It will inevitably reduce the demand for travel during peak hours, and thus undermine the justification for the need for the very large transportation capacity which only the metro can provide. In this context, the alternatives involving an improvement of tramline 55 must be re-examined – by independent experts – in the light of telework and the actual mobility needs of the residents of Schaerbeek and Evere.

From this point of view, it cannot be emphasised enough that the costs of cancelling a project may seem significant, but that in the context of a project which has not been started or even assigned, they are in fact quite limited compared to the funds which will have to be mobilised if the project becomes a reality. This “sunk cost effect” leads decision-makers to behave irrationally, as illustrated for example by the error of the promoters of the Concorde supersonic aircraft. Even before its commissioning, the prospect of its non-profitability due to fuel consumption had been raised. No one dared pull the plug because, as is often the case with major projects, prestige prevailed over reason. And today we know the outcome.


Find out more

DON’T LOOK DOWN, podcast series. Available at: https://www.dontlookdown.be/

ADVISES OF THE REGIONAL MOBILITY COMMISSION. Available at: https://mobilite-mobiliteit.brussels/en/good-move/good-partner/la-commission-regionale-de-la-mobilite
– 19/02/2009, Avis sur la station Albert et les restructurations du réseau STIB qui y sont liées ainsi que sur le tunnel constitution
– 27/03/2017, Avis sur les stations du projet de métro ligne 3 partie nord
– 25/09/2017, Avis sur le projet de modification partielle du plan régional d’affectation du sol (PRAS) concernant la liaison de transports en commun haute performance nord-sud et son rapport d’incidences environnementales
– 28/01/2019, Avis sur l’accessibilité du métro : projet de ligne 3 partie Nord et stations existantes Albert-Nord
– 24/06/2019, Avis d’initiative sur le manque de concertation avec la commission régionale de mobilité quant au projet de métro nord
– 24/06/2019, Avis sur les procédures de servitude et d’indemnisation relatives au réseau de métro et de pré-métro
– 03/12/2019, Avis sur l’étude relative au prolongement nord du métro
– 22/02/2021, Avis sur les directives relatives a la conception des stations de métro et de pré-métro de Bruxelles
– 28/03/2022, Avis sur l’étude d’incidences et les demandes de permis liées à la deuxième phase du projet métro 3

This text received the support of:

ARAU, David Bassens (professor of economic geography, Cosmopolis/VUB), Nicolas Bernard (professeur de droit, CePri et IRIB/USL-B), Gwenaël Brees (réalisateur de documentaires sur le Métro 3), Vincent Carton (ingénieur-urbaniste, ancien fonctionnaire de la RBC), Freke Caset (postdoctoral researcher, Social and Economic Geography/UGent), Liévin Chemin (réalisateur de documentaires sur le Métro 3), Collectif Save Tram 55, Mario Cools (professor in transport and mobility, Urban and Environmental Engineering/ULiège et UHasselt), Eric Cornelis (senior research associate, naXys/UNamur), Nicola da Schio (postdoctoral researcher, Cosmopolis/VUB), Ben Derudder (Professor Stedelijk Studies, KU Leuven), Jean-Philippe De Visscher (PhD Ir.-architecte, LOCI Faculté d’architecture, d’ingénierie architecturale, d’urbanisme, UCLouvain / KIS studio), IEB, Serge Jaumain (professeur d’histoire contemporaine, MMC/ULB), Vincent Kaufmann (professeur d’analyse des mobilités, LASUR/Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Pierre Lannoy (professeur de sociologie des mobilité, METICES/ULB), Dirk Lauwers (visiting professor, Research Group for Urban Development/UAntwerpen), Géry Leloutre (Dr. architecte urbaniste, Chargé de cours à la faculté d’architecture, ULB), Maarten Loopmans (associate professor, Geography and Tourism Unit/KU Leuven), Philippe Marbaix (climatologue, Teclim/UCLouvain), Albert Martens (prof. em., KU Leuven), Claire Pelgrims (docteure en urbanisme, chercheuse post-doctorale SASHA/ULB et LVMT/Université Gustave Eiffel), Jacques Teller (professeur d’urbanisme, directeur du laboratoire LEMA (Local Environment Management and Analysis)/ULiège), Philippe Van Parijs (prof. em., Chaire Hoover d’éthique économique et sociale/UCLouvain), Pierre Vanderstraeten (professeur et vice-doyen du site bruxellois de la faculté d’architecture, d’ingénierie architecturale et d’urbanisme LOCI de l’UCLouvain), Paul Vermeylen (urbaniste et architecte, membre de la Commission Régionale de Développement), Benjamin Wayens (maitre d’enseignement en géographie urbaine et économique, ULB), Frank Witlox (professor of economic geography, head of Social and Economic Geography (SEG) research group/UGent), Pol Zimmer (ancien fonctionnaire de la RBC dans le secteur du logement et auteur de diverses publications sur le sujet), Benedikte Zitouni (professeure de sociologie, CESIR/USL-B).

It also received the support of: BRAL (Stadsbeweging voor Brussel), Céline Brandeleer (chercheure associée IRIB, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles), Christiane De Jaer, Chloé Deligne (chercheure qualifiée FNRS, Université libre de Bruxelles), Fabienne Mataigne, Christophe  Mincke (Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles), Larry Moffett (Rise for Climate Belgium), Alexandre Plennevaux, Erdem Resne (travailleur associatif, matières urbaines),René Schoonbrodt (prof. em., Université Catholique de Louvain/Fopes), Debora Tillemans (Architecte), Alain Tombeur, Fernand Vanderdoodt, Michel Walravens (Collectif “Sauvez le square Riga“), Serge Wibaut.

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Authors

Maxime Fontaine is a researcher at Département d’économie appliquée de l’Université libre de Bruxelles (DULBEA) and is working on a doctoral thesis on social security financing and its interactions with institutional reforms. He has also participated in several research projects in public finance concerning the Brussels-Capital Region.

Michel Hubert holds a doctorate in sociology and is a visiting professor emeritus at Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (CESIR) and at ULB where he teaches the sociology of transport and mobility course. In the field of research, he coordinated the Cahiers de l’Observatoire de la mobilité de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale from 2010 to 2020.

Frédéric Dobruszkes is a lecturer and researcher in transport geography at Université libre de Bruxelles, where his research focuses on urban and long-distance mobility. He is also president of the Transport & Geography Commission of the International Geographical Union.

Wojciech Kębłowski is a critical urban geographer working on transport and mobility, based at VUB and ULB as FWO Junior Postdoctoral Fellow. He is currently involved in research projects on fare-free public transport (LiFT), publicness of public transport (PUTSPACE) and flexible transport services (CARIN-PT).

Christian Kesteloot is a professor emeritus of human geography at KU Leuven and an honorary lecturer at ULB. Most of his research has focused on social inequalities and urban and regional dynamics in Western Europe, particularly in Brussels and Flanders.

Pierre Laconte, economist and urban planner, is president of the Foundation for the Urban Environment and honorary secretary general of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). He is also one of the founding partners of Groupe Urbanisme Architecture, which was in charge of the master plan and architectural coordination of Louvain-la-Neuve in 1968. He is co-author with C. van den Hove of “Le rail, clé de la mobilité à Bruxelles” (ffue.org).


To cite this post: FONTAINE Maxime, HUBERT Michel, DROBRUSZKES Frédéric, KĘBŁOWSKI Wojciech, KESTELOOT Christian et LACONTE Pierre, 2022. A better future without the North Metro. In: BSI Position Papers, no. 2, 19/04/2022. Available at: https://bsiposition.hypotheses.org/614


  1. STIB, 2009. Métrovision. Brussel. 28 p.

    STIB, 2009. Métrovision. Passé-présent-futur. Brussels. 248 p. []

  2. This includes the complete redevelopment of the Albert station into a tram terminus, the digging of a new tunnel section under Boulevard Jamar, the creation of a new station (Toots Thielemans) under Avenue de Stalingrad and the tunnel under the railway north of the North Station. []
  3. TELLIER, C., 2012. Corps technique et techniques du corps. Sociologie des ingénieurs du souterrain bruxellois (1950-2010). Thesis presented in view of obtaining the title of Doctor of Social and Political Sciences, ULB: Brussels. 523 p.

    ZITOUNI, B. en TELLIER, C., 2013. How the technical bodies build the city. Strategic management of time during the creation of the urban development plan in the 19th century and the underground tramway/railway in the 20th century in Brussels. In: Brussels Studies, no.  64, 04/02/2013. Available at: https://journals.openedition.org/brussels/1128 []

  4. Fund under the Cooperation Agreement of 15/09/1993 between the federal state and the Brussels-Capital Region aimed at “promoting the international role of Brussels and its function of capital”. See https://www.beliris.be/ []
  5. The Parti du Travail de Belgique (PTB) and the Vlaams Belang do not seem to be opposed to the project either, as evidenced by the debate of 29 March 2022 in the Commission de la mobilité of the Brussels Parliament (see the “find out more” section at the bottom of this article). However, all parties seem to be starting to worry about its cost and funding. []
  6. FLAUSCH, A. Métrovision. Perspectives et conclusions pour Bruxelles. In: STIB, 2009. 9e Rendez-vous de Progrès, p. 13 []
  7. ARIES CONSULTANTS, 2021. Étude d’Incidences sur l’Environnement (EIE), 04/2021, p. 6 of Livre VII – Conclusions générales []
  8. See the website of Bureau Métro Nord managed by the Belgian subsidiary of the international company Sweco, based in Sweden: https://www.swecobelgium.be/fr/projets/metro-nord-bruxelles/ []
  9. STIB, 2012. Communiqué de presse. La première phase de l’étude « Métro Nord » est finalisée. 11/09/2012. Disponible à l’adresse : https://www.dropbox.com/s/8mlevqis65lknv3/20120911_CP_EtudePhase1Metro_FR.pdf?dl=0 []
  10. In 2025 (the expected date of entry into service), without the metro, there should be 720,300 km travelled by car during the morning rush hour (7-9 am), compared to 715,879 with the metro. This would represent a decrease of 0.61 %. Source: Aménagement S.C., 2017, RIE [rapport d’incidences sur l’environnement] du projet de modification partielle du PRAS relative à la liaison haute performance nord-sud. Chapter 7: Effets notables du projet et des alternatives. In particular, see Table 3, page 21, based on the 2012 BMN study. []
  11. ARIES CONSULTANTS, op. cit. []
  12. ARIES CONSULTANTS, op. cit., EIA Book II, Section 6.1.3. []
  13. See https://ibsa.brussels/themes/population/evolution-annuelle []
  14. A recent study (October 2021) conducted by ULB at the request of IBSA estimated that as many as 44 % of the jobs located in Brussels are “teleworkable”. The need to travel for meetings and various contacts has also decreased with the rapid digitalisation of society.

    DESCAMPS, J., DUCHÊNE, C., FONTAINE, M., IDE, N., MARISSAL, P., MEDINA, P., LOCKHART, M., STRALE, M., TOJEROW, I., and WAYENS, B., 2021. Analyse et impact du télétravail en Région de Bruxelles-Capitale. Study report for IBSA. 76 p. []

  15. ARIES CONSULTANTS, op. cit., p. 46 of EIA Book V. []
  16. Nor is there a “before/after” study of neighbourhood accessibility, even though the methodology and resources to do so exist: see in particular

    LEBRUN, K., 2018. L’accessibilité urbaine en transport public et ses déterminants. Le cas de Bruxelles. Doctoral thesis in geography, ULB: Brussels, 252 p.

    LEBRUN, K., 2018. Travel time by public transport in Brussels: the accessibility of poles of activity. In: Brussels Studies, no. 123, 07/05/2018., vol. 123. Available at: https://journals.openedition.org/brussels/1661 []

  17. ERMANS, T., 2019. Les ménages bruxellois et la voiture. Focus IBSA, no.  32, pp. 1-10 []
  18. DE WITTE, A., HOLLEVOET, J., HUBERT, M., DOBRUSZKES, F., and MACHARIS, C., 2011. Modal choice and its determinants: a review from an interdisciplinary perspective. BIVEC/GIBET Transport Research Day 2011, 25/05/2011. Facultés universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix: Namur. []
  19. Press conference of the political authorities and Beliris on 16 February 2022. []
  20. See, for example, the difficulties encountered recently in passing under the Palais du Midi in Avenue de Stalingrad: https://www.bruzz.be/mobiliteit/tegenslag-bij-metrowerken-stalingrad-zorgt-voor-vertraging-en-extra-kosten-2022-03-25 []
  21. FLYVBJERG, B., SKAMRIS HOLM, M. et BUHL, S., 2002. Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects: Error or Lie? In : Journal of the American Planning Association, 2002, vol. 68, no 3, pp. 279-295 []
  22. See also the recent examples analysed by KESTELOOT, C., 2019. Hoe een metrolijn beter niet gepland wordt. Ruimte & Maatschappij, 2019, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 1-9. []
  23. FLYVBJERG, B., SKAMRIS HOLM, M. et BUHL, S., op.cit. []
  24. See debate of 29 March 2022 in the Commission de la mobilité of the Brussels Parliament. []
  25. Chapter 7 of the RIE can be quoted here: “It is useful to emphasise the context of the subsoil, which is largely composed of unconsolidated or poorly consolidated sandy clay and loose clayey sands below the water table, in which the tunnelling machine will operate. Even if the technique has been mastered and has been used elsewhere in the world, in equally difficult geological contexts (alluvial soils, for example), there is no feedback to share in BCR, as this would be the first tunnelling experience of this magnitude in this geological layer. The size of the surface depression caused by a tunnelling machine is proportional to the volume of excavated material, and therefore proportional to the square of its diameter.” []
  26. BOGAERT, H., DECROP, S., EL MAHI, G., KOZICKI, C., LECUIVRE, C. and VOGLAIRE, J., 2021. Les perspectives budgétaires de la Région Bruxelles-Capitale de 2021 à 2026. Working paper. Available at: https://www.unamur.be/eco/economie/cerpe/cahiers/cahiers2021 []
  27. Report of the Court of Auditors of 10 November 2021 on the draft ordinances containing the adjustment of the Brussels-Capital Region budgets for 2021 and 2022. []
  28. BOGAERT, H., DECROP, S., EL MAHI, G., KOZICKI, C., LECUIVRE, C. en VOGLAIRE, J., op.cit. []
  29. The National Bank forecasts inflation of over 7 % for the year 2022. []
  30. However, the Court of Auditors pointed out in its latest report that, as European regulations stand at present, Belgium is not entitled to apply the flexibility clause for investment. This is therefore a relatively risky choice for the Brussels-Capital Region in drawing up its budget. []
  31. General presentation of the initial 2022 budget of the Brussels-Capital Region revenue and expenses. []
  32. Minutes of the plenary session of Thursday 23 December 2021 of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, p. 38 (item 1283). []
  33. L’Echo, Comment la Région bruxelloise va-t-elle financer l’extension du métro ?, 23 January 2022. []
  34. For example, Rue l’Olivier and Rue du Tilleul in Schaerbeek, Rue du Relais in Ixelles and Rue des Potiers in Brussels-City. []
  35. The Neptunium in Schaerbeek and the swimming pool in Ixelles, for example. []
  36. Parc de Forest, Parc Duden and Parc Jupiter in Forest, as well as the creation of a new park at Quai des Matériaux (Brussels-City). []
  37. Strategy to reduce the environmental impact of the existing built environment in the Brussels-Capital Region by 2030-2050, adopted by the Regional Government on 25 April 2019. []
  38. See https://www.bruzz.be/milieu/eigenaars-worden-verplicht-om-brusselse-woningen-te-renoveren-2019-05-14 []
  39. LECONTE, C. and GRISOT, S., 2022. Réparons la ville. Editions Apogée: Rennes. 90 p. []
  40. VINSEL, L. and RUSSELL, A.L., 2020. The Innovation Delusion. Currency: New York. 272 p. []
  41. USBEK & RICA, 2022. Et si on arrêtait d’innover ? Bienvenue dans l’âge de la maintenance. No. 34. []
  42. In addition to the tunnel itself and the Bordet depot (100,000 m2), the project has plans to create station infrastructures of a total of more than 70,000 m2, without STIB knowing how or with what means the maintenance and safety of these infrastructures will be ensured in the long term, given the state of the regional finances. Today, however, the BCR and the federal government are already spending large sums of money which are becoming increasingly difficult to release, in order to renovate and maintain the many infrastructures inherited from the past, both in the mobility and non-mobility sectors. []
  43. ARIES CONSULTANTS, op. cit., EIA Book VI, on the carbon footprint. []

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