RIGA - The increase in costs of the Rail Baltica high-speed rail project is around EUR 18 million at the moment, Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens (Progressives) told Latvian Television this morning.
"The increase in costs for design, project and planning services is at around EUR 18 million at the moment," said the Minister, adding that the design, project and planning process is actually currently experiencing some downtime.
He also said that he was somewhat surprised that he had inherited this issue, given that the increase had been known about since the summer.
At the same time, Briskens noted that the increase was objective, as the current project is many times more complex compared to the original sketch designs, as the necessary geotechnical studies have been carried out.
At the same time, the Minister did not mention the total cost of the project, stating that he did not want to speculate on any specific figures.
"Of course, the total capital requirements have increased, which is also a consequence of the fact that the original estimates were lowered - they did not reflect the need for investment, which was already adequate at the time. Now, due to various factors, the costs have increased, but of course they have to be coordinated with the European Union (EU) and the other Baltic States to finance the project," said Briskens.
As reported, Rail Baltica is a double track, European standard 1,435 mm gauge electrified railroad for passenger and freight transport to be built from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The overall length of the railroad will be 870 kilometers, with train speeds reaching a maximum of 240 kilometers per hour once it is completed and running.
The initial cost of the project was estimated at EUR 5.8 billion, with a portion of the costs being financed through EU funds. However, the sides involved in the project have emphasized on several occasions that the project's costs have risen considerably. The Rail Baltica project will be gradually put into operation in stages between 2028 and 2030.