Negotiations on Rail Baltic Route in Northern Pärnu County Run Into Difficulties
A Rail Baltic project team is meeting today in Vändra municipality to discuss how the tracks of the proposed multilateral rail project will run north of Pärnu. Observers are mildly pessimistic about any outcome being reached.
ERR correspondent Ester Vilgats says economic affairs ministry officials, consultants and municipal leaders are at an impasse.
That comes a day after it was reported that the decision on the route of the rails south of Pärnu was made smoothly. That's in part because the railway runs across state forests, and would follow the existing rail line through the city itself.
But in the case of northern Pärnu County, the consultants accuse the municipality of resorting to emotional arguments, the municipality counters the consultants are too clinical, and it falls on the Pärnu county governor to play King Solomon.
With farmers and other locals unhappy to see a rail line running where a grain field used to be, the parties say that the laws on compensation and eminent domain need to be updated, ERR reported.
The Road Administration has said compulsory purchases went smoothly at the time that the Via Baltica road was built and that Rail Baltica should follow a similar model, but the difference, of course, said Vilgats, is that crossings are more complicated in the case of a railway, and that money for overpasses is scarce.