Future coalition unlikely to fund new road building projects

An already-open two-lane stretch of the Tallinn-Tartu Highway.
An already-open two-lane stretch of the Tallinn-Tartu Highway. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Maintenance and upkeep will be the new coalition's priorities when it comes to road building, it was said after negotiations on Wednesday. New building projects are assumed to be unlikely.

Both Reform and Eesti 200 included building new roads in their manifestos before the election.

But after discussions on Tuesday, an agreement has been reached to focus on existing roads.

"The road maintenance plan should go ahead so that we can adequately maintain the roads we have already built. And, where possible, either 2+2 or 2+1 sections should be built as needed, with the aim of increasing road safety," said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).

As maintenance costs several hundred million euros each year, and costs are only rising, funding will not be allocated to developing new construction projects.

Kaja Kallas and Riina Sikkut. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Riina Sikkut (SDE) said it has been agreed old debts need to be paid off first.

"First, we will allocate the extra money that is currently needed for road maintenance and upkeep, and we will go ahead with the existing developments when it becomes clear in the budget negotiations that there are additional funds. Then we will be able to talk about new sections, but for the moment we have not made a decision," she said.

Eesti 200's Marek Reinaas said the focus is on repairing existing faults.

"And then to see if we can also find ways to invest in the construction of at least 1+2 new roads in Pärnu, Tartu, Narva," he said.

Road building funding has been discussed for years by the sector, who say money needs to be allocated to developing existing networks.

Marek Reinaas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Chairman of the board of the road builder Verston Veiko Veskimäe said the previous government put too little money into the area and now targets will be missed.

Coalition negotiations continue.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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