TALLINN - The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), joint venture of the Baltic states RB Rail AS and the relevant ministries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have signed an additional cross-border grant agreement on the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for Rail Baltic, the total budget of the agreement is 19.7 million euros.
Of the total budget, the CEF contribution will be of a maximum amount of 16.7 million euros or 85 percent of total eligible costs under this agreement. The remaining 15 percent will be financed by the governments of the Baltic states, RB Rail AS said.
"The additional Connecting Europe Facility and Baltic states funding not only once again reconfirms the strong commitment of the EU and Baltic partners to this unique cross-border project, but will also enable to finalize the remaining planning stage works, accelerate the global project delivery by starting design procurements of missing links on the critical Kaunas-Lithuania/Poland border section as well as Kaunas-Vilnius, and facilitate start of mainline construction procurement in Latvia," Agnis Driksna, chair of the management board of RB Rail AS, said.
"It also includes several important studies such as delivering the next generation cost-benefit analysis and business plan for Rail Baltic. Finalization of the already started design-type activities for railway facilities and mainline to reach readiness for construction remains the utmost priority between project partners," Driksna added.
Rail Baltic is the largest infrastructure project for the Estonian state following the restoration of its independence, both in terms of cost and scale. The length of the railway from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border is planned to total 870 kilometers, of which 210 kilometers will be in the territory of the Estonian state. In order to build the railway in Estonia, close to 1,000 properties must be allocated for the project, 863 of which are in either private or municipal ownership.
The implementation of the Rail Baltic project will cost 5.79 billion euros, according to a cost-benefit analysis compiled in 2017. Based on data from 2018, the cost of the construction of the railway in Estonia will total 1.58 billion euros.
The three Baltic states entered into an agreement in 2017 whereby they undertook the obligation to finish the construction of Rail Baltic by 2025 and ensure its readiness for use by 2026. Up to 85 percent of the project cost is funded by the European Union with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania paying for the remaining part.