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Germany: Vote on controversial rail project

Germany: Vote on controversial rail project
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Voters in the German state of Baden-Württemberg have been casting their ballots in a referendum on the controversial, multi-billion euro, Stuttgart 21 rail project.

If a third of them vote to stop the funding then the state government could end its support for the project.

There was some confusion over the wording of the referendum, as voters were being asked simply if state funding should be withdrawn. So a ‘yes’ vote means ‘no’ to the project while a ‘no’ vote means they think it should go ahead.

However those on both sides said that, over weeks of campaigning, they had made this point clear, and it should not be an issue.

The development forms part of a scheme that will modernise the link between Paris, Vienna and ultimately Budapest and it will aim to introduce Stuttgart as “the new heart of Europe.”

There have been huge protests against the rail link, mainly with people saying that during a time of economic crisis this project is a waste, and the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Construction started in February 2010, and is expected to take 10 years to complete.