During the third ASEM transport ministers' meeting in Riga today, European Transportation Commissioner Violeta Bulc said that the Rail Baltica high-speed rail project will be allocated 85 percent of its cost if it meets the conditions set out by the European Commission.
She explained that Rail Baltica is one of nine priority European transportation corridors, as the Baltics have yet to be connected to the European transportation network. She added that all of the projects have been submitted for review, and that an assessment from the EC can be expected sometime in July.
Bulc said that there have been three times more projects submitted than the total number the EC plans to support, and so there will be a rigorous selection process. However, taking into account all the circumstances, the commissioner said that she is confident that the Rail Baltica project will be granted co-financing from the EC if it meets the project's conditions.
As reported, the Rail Baltica project involves the construction of a new 1,435 millimeter standard-gauge railroad through the Baltic countries, which will link Berlin and Tallinn, via Warsaw, Kaunas and Riga. The implementation of the project could cost the Baltic States as much as 3.68 billion. The request for funding was submitted to the European Commission in February this year, so construction of the railroad could begin in 2016. Further funding for the project is to be provided as part of the next financial period that will begin in 2020.