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Demo against the planned Transrapid in Munich

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The opposition against the planned Transrapid train from Central Station to the airport is staging its first major demonstration against freshly retired Stoiber’s favorite technical enterprise this coming Saturday, 3 November 2007, from 11am until app. 1pm. The protestors’ route will lead from Stachus, Sonnenstraße, Sendlinger-Tor-Platz, Blumenstraße, Frauenstraße, Isar-Tor-Platz, Tal to Marienplatz where there will be speeches by prominent politicians such as Hep Monatzeder (3rd Mayor of Munich and Financial Expert, Greens), Franz Maget (Head of the SPD in the Bavarian House of Representatives) and Axel Berg (Representative for München-Nord in the Bavarian House of Representatives, SPD).

 

The protest march is sponsored by several organizations encompassing environmental protection societies, unions and political parties as well as private initiatives founded to protect their neighborhoods from noise pollution and ugly elevated tracks outside their bedroom windows.

 

I confess to a weakness for their cause, especially as they support other more sensible uses for our tax money, such as improving the city’s social infrastructure, modernizing kindergartens, schools and retirement homes, and investing in existing public transport systems. But most of all, their poster makes me laugh. The evil slanted eyes of this fire-breathing monster stoked on crisp 100-Euro-bills, the sharp teeth designed to shred your tax money and devour any voter foolish enough to question its justifiability, the aggressive left to right movement across the page perfected by Hitler’s propaganda – classic. Now, let’s stick to the facts. Turn up and show your support or regard the opposing crowds as tree-hugging numbskulls.

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They picked a bad weekend for this, a lot of people will be out of town because of the public holiday on Thursday and hence a long weekend for some.. I know I won't be around..

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Hell yeah demonstration is on! Me, the wife and the little one will be there!!!

 

Any chance I have of getting Stoiber's 'Yes, I was a big man' plans to go down the toilet are welcomed.

Really do not want to see this guy get his way with a totally unnecessary huge waste of money

 

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More people showed up than even the organisors expected – around 13,000 people. Glad I went; it felt good to be doing something positive, as opposed to just whingeing on Toytown like I usually do.

 

The main aspect that this demonstration really drove home to me was, as one speaker described it, the "arrogance of power"; that is, the Bavarian CSU party attempting to force a prestige-project onto a city whose people and administration don't want it. It have to keep pinching myself to believe it can even be happening. I can think of no other example of a city being forced to accept such a major project against its own wishes. There must surely be constitutional implications if the CSU get away with this coup. Most people were opposed to the enormous cost – three times what the Express S-Bahn would cost, which would be also be of use to a vastly greater number of people.

 

Next step in the campaign will be moves for a referendum. If campaigners can collect sufficient signatures (10% of the population have to register their support at a town hall over a 10-day period), then the government will be forced to call a referendum on the issue. The challenge for campaigners here will be to persuade people to spend the five minutes required to sign. Given the numbers of bemused shoppers too apathetic to step off the pavement and join the march today, this could prove to be a challenge.

 

I took my camera with me but unfortunately not the memory card, but you can see some pictures on the Süddeutsche website.

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13000?

 

I was one of those oh so not really interested shoppers and all I saw were a couple of hundred. I've seen Marienplatz busier for a clog dancing exhibition.

 

The money for this project is only going to be made for this project. It isnt available for any other infrastructure plans. And with that in mind, even though I dont see the need for it, all I can say is what the hell lets have a swish shiney new toy to impress visitors with. It's an image and vision thing (same as the channel tunnel really). But there again moving the whole government from Bonn to Berlin was too! This is what polititians do, and that is what Munich and Bavaria are heavy to push on. Most of the protestors are NIMBYs anyway.

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You had to be at Marienplatz once the demonstrators had actually arrived, gideon. Those at the back were stopped from entering because the square was full. I have no idea where you heard that the funds are dedicated to this project only, as it is absolutely not correct. Around €1 billion of tax-payer's money will be spend on this project – if the Transrapid isn't built, that money will be spent elsewhere.

 

No doubt a few of the demonstrators are Nimbys, but the SDP and die Grüne and the countless other organisations involved clearly are not. All they want to see is money being spent on the masses, not on an elite few. Why should we have to cram onto an S-Bahn every day of our lives so that some tourist can spend €40 to whizz into Munich once a decade?

 

Your example of the Channel Tunnel is particularly ironic, given that this particular white elephant would NEVER have been built had they accurately predicted passenger numbers, which are still languishing at around one-third of the predicted level.

 

See also the related threads.

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Still not thirteen hundred that mate, looks more like three. As the state cannot go bankrupt this money isn't coming out of a ready made pot of current tax reciepts, it'll be found. All rather odd, I agree and I am not really in agreement with the thing, but as the money wont be used for the S-bahn if this thing doesn't go ahead then I say Oh well lets have a great swish way into Munich. Would be good for the City as an atrtactive place to base businesses in and will garauntee (well that and the third runway - another NIMBY bete noire) the expansion and investment in the Airport by Lufthansa. I do worry intensly about referendums made on any infrastructual project. They always over represent the negative voters to the detriment of the general public and the long term view of how a city will be attractive to business.

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Munich has recently, well fairly recently, had two referendums about major building and infrastructure projects, one about the Mittelerring tunnels and one about the new football stadium, both of which resulted in resounding Yes!

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True, but it was easier for joe public to understand those than the benefits of allowing the transrapid to built and skyscrapers not to have an artificial cap on their hieght. Both those projects were for the people's good. The transrapid is for the cities image good. (And to some extent that alone) But there agian so was the Olymipcs. I dont think Munich made a profit on that. Certainly turned into a rather dubious memory for the world.

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@smalltownboy

 

You state that this is being done against the majority of peoples wishes - can I ask you what data you have used to present this as fact?

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Still not thirteen hundred that mate, looks more like three.

Is this code for "I was flat-out wrong."? And you don't really mean "three" hundred, right? Because you'd have to squint pretty hard and cover most of the photo to count only three hundred.

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Various unofficial polls put the figure higher, but a recent opinion poll found that 58% people in the state of Bavaria were opposed to the project and 33% in favour (link). I'm not sure if an opinion poll has actually been carried out exclusively in Munich. The SDP are presumably convinced that public opinion in Munich is on their side or else they wouldn't be pushing for the referendum. In any event, the opposition of the city's democratically-elected administration ought to be enough to scupper the project on its own.

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The Transrapid has all of the ingredients of a total cock-up in the making. I mean, since when did any of these high cost fantasy projects ever open on time or on cost? Also, and this might just be a personal thing, do you really want to travel at 500 KPH in a train without a driver? I trust computers a bit, and I know that your average Airbus could land itself but we still demand to have 2 pilots to watch the computers do it.

 

How will the system recoup the costs? Will there be a premium fare for the privilege of being flown (albeit at a height of a few centimeters) to the airport? How will it cope with ice and snow?

 

The idea is completely barking, when they could use the normal DB lines that mirror the S1 to provide a limited stop SBahn service for the cost of a couple of extra trains.

 

Just as a thought. If the problem is only with the politicians wanting to get to the airport without mixing with us plebs, then have they costed up a helicopter taxi service? I bet you could make a few thousand trips before you achieved the Transrapid costs.

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People saying that there doesn't seem to be 13,000 people in the photo above have to think again in my opinion. Just think, the Winzerer Fähndl tent at the Oktoberfest holds 8000 people. I'm pretty damn sure there are more people in that square than there is in one of those tents.

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Only gideon is questioning the official figure, using his unique "glance and assume" technique. Fortunately the police have slightly more sophisticated methods and that figure was calculated during the march itself and not at Marienplatz. (The figure had been announced before all the demonstrators had even arrived at Marienplatz – and, as I mentioned, the people in that photo only represent a certain proportion because people at the back of the march were prevented from entering the square.) Happily, gideon's financial acumen is stronger, convincingly assuring us the thousand million euros of public money needed for the project "will just be found".

 

With regards to not being completed on time and cost, that is inevitable. Even the €1.85bn figure is now over three years old and therefore already woefully out-of-date. The projected costs of Crossrail in London doubled every 3-4 years, but the promoters of the Transrapid are clearly deliberately avoiding any new cost analyses because if the official cost rises before they start work, the project will be dead in the water. Opponents put the current figure at €3.36bn (link), but I suspect it will come to even more than this.

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You state that this is being done against the majority of peoples wishes - can I ask you what data you have used to present this as fact?

A poll published in the Abendzeitung last Friday showed that 65 percent of Bavarians are opposed to the Transrapid and 26 percent are in favour. Some 33% of CSU voters support the project compared to only 22% of SPD voters.

 

Younger males are the most likely to support the project, although even here 64% of males and 57% of 18-29 year olds oppose the scheme.

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