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Baltic countries submit joint EC funding application for Rail Baltica

  • 2015-02-27
  • from wire reports, TALLINN/RIGA/VILNIUS

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and the joint-stock company RB Rail have submitted a joint application to the European Commission signed by the transport ministers of all three countries, seeking funding for the first round of implementation of the Rail Baltica project from the Connecting Europe Facility, LETA has learned from the Latvian Transport Ministry.

Latvia has applied for the entire total of 240 million euros available from the Connecting Europe Facility's cohesion funds. Combined with the co-funding, the total amount will be 294 million euros.

Latvia is planning to launch implementation of the Rail Baltica project by developing a technical project for the section of the railway that will pass through the centre of Latvia, reconstructing Riga Central railway station and related infrastructure, constructing a railway station at Riga International Airport, and the construction of a railway section between Riga Central station and Riga Airport.

The application will be examined by the European Commission, and the agreement on the EU funding for the project could be signed by autumn of this year.

According to Latvian Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss (Unity), Rail Baltica is the largest public rail infrastructure project in a hundred years, as well as being a major cross-border project with high added value. The railway is proposed to link Berlin and Tallinn, passing through Warsaw, Kaunas, Vilnius and Riga en route. This is hoped to greatly decrease travel times within the Baltics; it is not currently possible to travel directly between any of the Baltic capitals by rail.

Attached to the application for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility and the joint support letter signed by the Baltic transport ministers are supporting letters from the Polish and Finnish transport ministries.