Vital Rail Baltica funding approved by European Union

The massive Rail Baltica infrastructure project has won approval for access to crucial European Union funds, the joint venture overseeing the project said July 16.

“By the 16 July 2020 vote of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Committee, the Rail Baltica Global project in the Baltic States has been granted additional EUR 184 million CEF financing to be invested in the Project implementation until 2024,” a statement from RB Rail said.

Together with 15% national co-financing, the total investment amounts to EUR 216 million in additional funding for the project. Together with the currently signed grant agreement contracts, Rail Baltica in the three Baltic states has already secured around EUR 1.2 billion from the EU and national funds, though in all the project is expected to cost around 5.8 billion euros.

The funding was allocated in the framework of the 2019 CEF Transport Call, which is managed by the EU’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). The entire eligible funding made available to Cohesion countries in the Call was EUR 1.1 billion, and the competition between the Cohesion countries to receive the funding was very high. In this competitive process, the Rail Baltica corridor has received the largest financial allocation or 55% from the total available funding of the 2019 CEF Cohesion Transport call.

In addition to the EUR 184 million EU grant for the Rail Baltica sections in the Baltic States, EUR 422 million was granted to the Rail Baltica sections in Poland.

According to the CEF Committee vote, the Rail Baltica Global project has been allocated EUR 128 million for construction works and EUR 88 million for technical design and planning works.

“Rail Baltica appreciates the additional financing made available for the technical design, planning and construction works. As a result this will provide the necessary funding for all key Global Project activities in this area, as well as provide maturity for the construction phase of Rail Baltica. The project is prepared to scale-up construction activities in all three countries and will apply for additional funding in the next CEF Transport Calls,” said Agnis Driksna, Chairperson of the Management Board of Rail Baltica Joint Venture RB Rail AS.

Tālis Linkaits, the Minister of Transport of Latvia said: “The funding allocated in the framework of the 2019 CEF Transport Call is another proof that Rail Baltica is more than a railway infrastructure – it is an economic corridor supporting regional connectivity. The secured funding allows Latvia to commence the design of regional stations as regional multimodal interchanges for a better integration of national transport networks. This will also increase the potential of self-sustainability for Rail Baltica infrastructure and bring more synergies with local communities and businesses. In the nearest future we will start discussions with local municipalities on the exact location of the regional stations as there are numerous factors to consider.”

With ongoing design works on 643 km of the main line and international passenger stations, the project will require additional funding from the next CEF Transport Calls, and in particular under the next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework starting as of 2021, in order to complete the construction activities on time.

Source: https://eng.lsm.lv/