They call him the „Brasov Bulldozer” and until recently he was Romania’s richest businessman carrying clout among the country’s movers and shakers. He’s now used that leverage to try and halt a major rail line to the capital’s airport which he says will hurt his investments.
Bucharest is one of the only EU countries which doesn’t have a rail link or subway from the city to the airport. The road is the busiest in Romania.
Authorities were planning to build a suspended rail line ahead of the Euro 2020 championship next year, which Romania is jointly hosting. But Tiriac, 80, called the initiative “a useless investment,” and headed a group of dozens of business people and residents who wanted the line halted.
On Oct. 11 the Bucharest Court of Appeal suspended the construction of the railway line linking Bucharest’s main train station to the Henri Coanda International Airport. The decision can be appealed. If the appeal fails, work could be stopped until the court decides if the project can go on or must be stopped for good.
The railway link was scheduled to be completed by June 2020 to ensure transport for fans from the airport into the city.
The only public transport connecting the airport to the city is an express bus line.
Tiriac, also president of the Romanian Tennis Federation, and a group of investors in Otopeni where the airport is located challenged the project in September in court arguing that the new railway line would hurt ongoing investments and development plans.
Tiriac built an ice-skating rink in Otopeni which opened in 2016 and plans to open a tennis academy in partnership with former tennis star Ilie Nastase. His plans also include an Olympic swimming pool and a gymnastics hall, plus a campus for students. He says that the new railway makes it impossible for him to develop these projects.
Several other investors complained that the railway line would pass very close to their properties. One of them is Comtel Focus, the company that owns the Angelo Airport Hotel in Otopeni
The 84-million euro contract was awarded in June to a consortium of companies including Arcada Company SA, ISPCF SA, and DB Engineering & Consulting GMBH.
The project includes the construction of almost 3 kilometers of double railway plus a 1.5-kilometer viaduct that will run 7.5 meters above the DN1.
Tiriac and 63 others sued the government, the Transport Ministry and Romania’s state railways.
Tiriac, who lost the crown of Romania’s richest businessman this year, said the transport ministry’s project was “out of touch with reality,” according to a press release published by clubferoviar.ro.
Owners who live in the area reportedly claimed that the under-construction line would “put their lives in danger.”