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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 04.07.2020, 15:20

Management of Rail Baltica project in Latvia not effective enough - State Audit Office

BC, Riga, 23.01.2020.Print version
The Rail Baltica European-gauge railroad project's management in Latvia has not been effective enough, according to a report released by the State Audit Office on Thursday referred LETA.

The examination of the effectiveness of the project's management reveals that from 2014 to 2019 the project has not been managed effectively enough. As a result of this, the goal set in the Baltic states' intergovernmental agreement - to complete the railroad project and put it into operation by 2025 - might not be met. 

Looking to establish the reasons for the project's delays and rising costs, the State Audit Office has found the absence of such basic preconditions for the project's successful implementation as risk management, a strategy for the project's Latvian coordinator Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas (EDzL), as well as officials delegated by the Transport Ministry to oversee work on the project. 

Furthermore, the slow expropriation of real estate and inactive cooperation with local authorities added to the growth of the project's costs, state auditors said.

The audit also established that only 24% of the funding allocated to the project have been absorbed in the first five years since its launch and a number of activities have been delayed for one to four years.

The most critical delays have been identified in work on the Riga Central Railway Junction, the Rail Baltica station at Riga International Airport and the railway line's central section in Latvia. Construction of these objects is currently two to four years behind the schedule. 

"These significant deviations from the plan suggest that all we had in the beginning was an ambitious resolve to manage the project without really being ready for it. This project is a serious test for all the parties concerned, but I would not like Latvia to become the weakest link in its implementation," said Auditor General Elita Krumina

Rail Baltica is a European standard 1,435 mm gauge electrified railway for passenger and freight transport to be built from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The overall length of the railway will be 870 kilometers.

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