CONNECT TO DOTS: The new rail project would improve connections with the rest of Europe.
TALLINN - The new Latvian Transport Minister Aivis Ronis met with Estonian Ambassador to Latvia Mati Vaarmann during which the two sides expressed their support for the narrow-gauge high-speed railroad project Rail Baltica, reports Nozare.lv. During the Nov. 8 meeting, Ronis said that it is important to integrate the rail lines between the Baltics and the rest of Europe.
The two sides also discussed the upcoming meeting of Baltic prime ministers in Tallinn, during which regional infrastructure projects, including Rail Baltica, will be discussed.
The Baltic countries will have up to 85 percent of the narrow-gauge high-speed railroad project Rail Baltica costs covered by European Union funds, European Commission expert James Pond announced at a press conference in October.
Rail Baltica can apply for such generous co-funding because EU priorities have changed, and transit routes, which in the case of Rail Baltica link the Baltic countries with the Adriatic region, have been given priority; the EU plans to allot a total of 10 billion euros for such infrastructure development projects.
The Baltic countries and Poland must now take a joint political decision on implementation of the project, or else the money planned for Rail Baltica could be lost altogether.
Implementation of Rail Baltica would cost 3.6 billion euros to the Baltic States altogether, according to a study carried out by the British consulting company Aecom Ltd.