Rail Baltic project director Indrek Sirp said routing the planned railroad through Tartu would cost half a billion euros more than the currently planned trajectory through Pärnu.
Going through Tartu would also be less profitable, due to time and fuel considerations, he said.
An opinion article written by Reform Party member Hannes Astok in Postimees Tuesday called for building the railroad through Tartu, so as to connect Estonia's second city and university town with the rest of Europe.
Sirp responded: "Routes intersecting Tartu were also analyzed, and it was found that a new, shorter, more direct route, not going through the old corridor, would generate more passengers and therefore revenue; however, with regard to cargo transport, [Tartu] would clearly fall short of the Pärnu route."
Using Tartu's old railroad route would be even less efficient than building a new one, he added.
A new Tartu route would also be around 100 kilometers longer and therefore much more expensive, said Sirp, with one kilometer of rail costing roughly 4 million euros.
Furthermore, he said, the average speed on the Tartu-Valga route would be 127 kilometers per hour, compared with an average speed of 170 kilometers on the Pärnu-Riga route.