Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannesson, signed an agreement last week with capital region municipalities to begin negotiations on a large-scale transport plan, RÚV reports. The talks will centre on significant investments in public transportation and eliminating traffic bottlenecks in the region.
It is hoped that increased availability and use of public transit will contribute to reaching the government’s carbon reduction goals. Hreinn Heraldsson will lead the committee tasked with prioritizing projects, arranging financing and implementation. The committee will consider new funding mechanisms, including national and/or local taxes. The estimated cost of all projects is 80 billion ISK.
Removing bottlenecks will improve the flow of traffic and safety. Public transport funding will focus on the Borgarlína (City Line) system. The system was first conceived as a light rail system but scaled back to a so-called bus rapid transport (BRT) network. BRT consists of dedicated bus lanes, and high-frequency services to fewer stops. These systems are much cheaper than rail and have been successful in cities around the world. Preliminary work, such as choosing routes, has taken place over the past few years. Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson believes construction can begin as early as 2020.