Latvian Railways Engineer Urges Officials to Push Harder for Rail Baltic ({{commentsTotal}})

Latvian Railways' chief engineer, Kaido Simmermann, has urged countries to get on board the decision to establish a joint-stock company for the Rail Baltic project.

Simmerman told ETV that Lithuania is dragging its feet and that the decision-making process must be sped up because the deadline for EU financing, just a few years down the road, is looming.

"Maybe what's behind this is that [Lithuania] isn't even interested in developing northward," Simmermann said.

Officials recently announced they would not make the planned January 1 deadline to create the joint company.

Meanwhile, Estonian officials on the local level are working out the details on the planned railroad's route.

"Of course all kinds of other studies need to be involved in the process, because if a stork nest or a lesser spotted eagle's nest is in the way, we can't run it over. All studies need to be taken into consideration," said activist Vahur Tõnisoo, one of the co-founders of an initiative calling for open dialogue on the Rail Baltic project.

Although the planned route has already been announced, a debate recently emerged in the media over whether the tracks should be shifted away from Pärnu and instead run through Tartu. Estonia's project manager has said that a Tartu route would be significantly more expensive and not as good for cargo flows, although passenger traffic would be higher.