The Union of Pärnu County Municipalities notified Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and the government in a joint address that opening discussions around a new Rail Baltic (RB) corridor would lead to deadlock and would call the realization of the entire project into question.
ERR News wrote on May 19 that the Supreme Court of Estonia (Riigikohus) partly revoked the Pärnu County plan to fore sections 3A, 4A, and 4H of the planned track for Rail Baltic, based mainly on an inadequate environmental impact assessment.
The revoked track corridor spanned 45 km between Pärnu and Ikla, on the Latvian border. The fault affected a 5 km section where an inadequate Natura assessment was carried out.
The Supreme Court gave the Ministry of Finance two options. Either they will make a proposal to start planning for a new corridor or update the existing plan with an adequate Natura assessment.
While the ministry considered both options, due to the cost and time it would take to draw up a new county plan, it was decided that an update to the existing plan would be most optimal.
Local government leaders wrote in the joint address that they still support the initial plan and do not see a reason to search for new solutions for the corridor.
"We would end up losing time, wasting resources, and would still end up in the same track corridor. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, there would have to be additional environmental assessments and compensations would have to be made. It is not simple, but for the purpose of the final goal we would be ready to support the plan as municipalities. Opening a discussion for alternative corridors would lead to a deadlock and would the realization of the entire project into question."
Municipality leaders emphasize while the development of Rail Baltic would benefit all of Estonia, it would be especially important to Pärnu, which does not have a railroad connection.
"The Union of Pärnu County Municipalities stands together that the development of a high-speed railroad is the most critical infrastructure project Estonia has had since the restoration of independence (1991). It is directed towards the future and it will benefit future generation in particular. Our objective is to create the necessary prerequisites for the successful realization of the project. Therefore, development has to be continued rapidly and in the agreed-upon time frame," the address noted.
The joint address was signed by 12 local government leaders: Andrus Soopalu (chairman of Häädemeeste' rural municipal council), Karel Tölp (Häädemeeste municipality Mayor), Arno Peksar (chairman of Lääneranna municipal council), Mikk Pikkmets (Lääneranna municipality Mayor), Ülle Vapper (chairman of Põhja-Pärnumaa municipal council), Jane Mets (Põhja-Pärnumaa municipality Mayor), Andrei Korobeinik (chairman of Pärnu city council), Meelis Kukk (Pärnu municipality Deputy Mayor), Kadri-Aija Viik (chairman of Saarde municipality council), Eiko Tammist (Saarde municipality Mayor), Enn Kuslap (chairman of Tori municipality council) and Lauri Luur (Tori municipality Mayor).
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste