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If EU reduced funding, Lithuanian Railways would lack money for Rail Baltica

BC, Vilnius, 28.03.2018.Print version
If the European Union (EU) decided to lower the financing of the European-gauge railway Rail Baltica in 2021, the state-run railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) would not be capable of earmarking additional money for the project, says the company's CEO Mantas Bartuska, cites LETA/BNS.

"There are certain risks that Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai alone would not be able to provide the funding in full, unless there were other positive presumptions, such as larger cargo flows," Bartuska said on Wednesday at the parliamentary committees on Budget and Finance and Economics.

In his words, after the closure of the current multi-annual financial perspective in 2021, Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai would be able to earmark around 300 million euros for Rail Baltica, which accounts for 15 percent of the project costs. All in all, the project in Lithuania will cost another 2.1 billion euros.

The European Union currently covers 85 percent of the project value. Should the share decline in the future, Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai would have to search for additional funds, said Bartuska.

EU has committed itself to earmarking 1.2 billion euros in support to the project in the Baltic states in 2014-2020. Some 110 million euros were granted additionally.

The project is estimated at 5.8 billion euros, under preliminary terms. The money will cover building of a direct railway connection between the Baltic states and the European railway network. The new railway line will enable passenger trains to reach speeds of up to 240 km/h, while freight trains will travel at up to 120 km/h. The project should be completed by 2026.

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