Free parking for those with a Navegante pass, the extension of streetcar 15 to Jamor and in the future to Parque Tejo, a fast streetcar line in Alta de Lisboa, contactless in Carris, the anticipated expansion of GIRA to all parishes, nine million for the cycling network, the return of the IMT exemption measure for young people and an investment of 150 million euros in housing. These are some of the highlights of the proposed Lisbon Municipal Budget for 2024, presented to the media on Tuesday.
This Tuesday, November 14, was the day for the presentation of the general lines of the Lisbon Municipal Budget for 2024. This is still the proposal of Carlos Moedas' Executive, which will still have to be discussed with all the opposition councillors and then approved by the municipal deputies. Filipe Anacoreta Correia, the Deputy Mayor responsible for Finance, is confident that another budget will be approved, not least because of the context of instability experienced at national level.
This is Carlos Moedas' third budget at the head of Lisbon City Hall and it is presented halfway through the municipal term. The proposal forecasts revenue of 1.303 million euros in 2024, two million less than the previous year. Still, for Anacoreta Correia, "it's a budget that, in terms of size, is very much in line with last year's", even though the management balance is lower. The municipality has a balance of 40 million this year, i.e. money that it didn't spend in this year's budget; in the Municipal Budget for 2023, the estimated management balance was 130 million. The Vice-President pointed out that the budget proposal presented for next year includes "a very significant amount of investment" in the city. "Almost a third of the municipal budget is investment and this is a sign of our policies for the future"he said. "We promised and we're doing it. We didn't just promise. This budget shows that we are doing and doing a lot."
On mobility, Filipe Anacoreta Correia spoke of a an investment of 289 million euros, "if we add the Carris and EMEL budgets to the City Council budget"183 million and 74 million, respectively; but also the money that the municipality sends to the Lisbon Metropolitan Area for investments, for example, in Carris Metropolitana.
The Deputy Mayor highlighted the following projects:
- a the opening in 2024 of two of the five deterrent parks planned until 2026: the one in Pontinha Sul, with 387 spaces, and the one in Azinhaga da Cidade, with 165 spaces. It is also planned to open a auto silo in Campo de Ourique, on Travessa do Bahutowith 89 seats. "We estimate that these parks will be ready to open in 2024"said Anacoreta Correia, despite the fact that no work has yet been launched.
- the launch of "an innovative project" called Navegante Parks. In these parking lots, of which there will be seven (including the new ones in Pontinha Sul and Azinhaga da Cidade), with a total of 1,965 spaces, it will be possible to park with a Navegante pass, without paying any extra. "We're going to allow people who have a Navegante pass to park their car in these car parks and then move around the city using public transport," explained the Vice-President. "The aim is that with the Navegante pass we will have more and more intermodality solutions."
- a bringing forward the expansion of the GIRA network to all parishes from 2025/26 to 2024, with the opening of 36 stations over the next year. Anacoreta Correia gave an update on the increase of 900 bicycles promised for this year: "By the end of the year, we estimate that the 500 new bikes will have been delivered and that the process of electrifying the 400 classic bikes will be completed in the first half of 2024." Regarding the expansion of the cycle network, the plan had already been announced and was repeated in this presentation: 17 km of new cycle paths, 11.4 km of links between sections of the disconnected cycle network and 58 km of shared 30+bike lanes. The municipality plans to invest 8.9 million euros in the cycle network in 2024 and 5.4 million in 2025.
- with Carris, the municipality promises to take the streetcar 15 to Jamor, in the municipality of Oeiras, as early as 2024. The line currently ends at Algés. On the other hand, the Lisbon municipality wants to "get to work"next year, the extension of the 15E from Santa Apolónia to Parque Tejoby the Trancão. The extension to Santa Apolónia of the streetcar currently terminating at Praça da Figueira was already certain, but depended on the course and conclusion of the drainage works. However, the connection between Santa Apolónia and Parque das Nações was not planned to be via the 15E but via the LIOS - a project that has not made any progress but which would consist of a light rail system between the municipalities of Lisbon, Oeiras and Loures, connected to the aforementioned 15E. The Lisbon municipality doesn't want to wait for LIOS and seems more interested in implementing a continuous riverside streetcar line operated by Carris as soon as possible. On the other hand, in 2024 it intends to take the first steps in the study of a fast streetcar line to Alta de Lisboa. "These are projects that we are working on and we hope that by 2024 they can make progress"said the Vice-President, adding that the launch of payments contactless on board buses and streetcarsas well as other "investments in applications and user accessibility to the Carris offer".
- to continue renewal of the Carris fleetThe municipality intends to invest 165 million euros between 2024 and 2027, in order to reach a target of 87% of the municipal operator's fleet powered by cleaner energies. Currently Carris is the bus company with the oldest fleet in the Lisbon metropolitan areaBut it has been buying new natural gas or electric buses to reverse this situation and, at the same time, improve its environmental performance. Anacoreta Correia said that "a large part of this investment" decarbonization of the Carris fleet "it's being done with our own funds"being the desire of the municipality to benefit from European funding - for example, through the RRP - for this purpose. "This will allow us to maintain our ambitious level of investment while anticipating our carbon targets"he explained, adding that hopes that 2024 "it could be a year to formalize and strengthen European funding for this project".
In housing, the municipal budget provides for investment of 150 million euros in 2024, 41.5% more than in 2023, between the construction of new housing and the rehabilitation of municipal assets. In relation to rental support, between the Safe Rent Program and the Municipal Rental Subsidy, the municipality plans to spend 4.2 million, 18% more than this year. Also in the plans for next year are the housing projects at Quinta do Ferro (which we'll cover soon in LPP) and Casal do Pinto, in Beato, as well as a new Affordable Rent project in Lumiar.
In this budget proposal, Carlos Moedas' Executive insists on the measure to exempt young people up to the age of 30 from IMT when buying a home (for their own permanent residence)This time with a new feature: the ceiling will be 300,000 euros instead of 250,000. "It's a proposal that hasn't come to fruition in the Chamber because it's been rejected by the opposition parties, but we believe that this time it will be different"said Anacoreta Correia, explaining that "a young person who buys a house is a young person who marries the area where they buy that house" and that "this relationship is something we have to promote". The Vice-President admitted that he still doesn't have a final budget estimate for this measure because it is difficult to access official data on house purchases, but he stressed that if the measure is approved, it could have an impact of four million euros by 2024.
In other areas, the Lisbon Municipal Budget for next year provides for six million euros to support homeless people - an increase of two million over the current year - and the realization of a new welcome center in Beato, to replace the Santa Bárbara Barracksas well as a program. There are also new developments in the so-called Local Welfare State, in health, in nurseries and schools, in human resources and in the return of personal income tax - currently, the municipality returns 3.5% and wants to return 4.5%.
There are also 67 million (of the total 141 million expected between 2022 and 2025) for the Lisbon General Drainage Plan; Anacoreta Correia explained that "is a project that is highly unpredictable because it is underground. Therefore, any archaeological finds compromise the timetable for the work, and the new soil legislation also requires the project to make some adjustments. But we estimate that by 2024 we'll be able to execute 67 million euros, which is already quite a significant amount"he added.
The Lisbon Municipal Budget for 2024 should be approved if the PS - which now has only three councillors without portfolio in the Chamber - will again abstain, as they did with the two previous budgets. A possible no vote from the rest of the left will not be enough to sway the expected yes vote from the seven councillors who support the Novos Tempos coalition (PSD/CDS), led by Moedas and Anacoreta Correia. If the PS joins the other parties in disapproving the budget, it could open up a political crisis in Lisbon.