Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) said that Estonia needs more money to finish major four-lane highways than has been earmarked in the state budget strategy (RES).
The plan to finish reconstructing major highways to have four lanes is stuck behind funding.
"I'm sure it comes as a surprise to no one that roadbuilding funding is in short supply. We have gained €10 million for roadbuilding. We will also get more money for light traffic roads. €96 went into urban bicycle paths and Tallinn trams. Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu each got €12 million for bicycle path construction. A lot of money will also go into new public transport measures," Michal told ERR Thursday.
He admitted that while a lot of money will be put toward Rail Baltica, road construction money will barely be enough for maintenance and a few new projects. "We expect roadbuilding funding to increase over the coming years. At least it has been indicated during state budget strategy talks, while it largely depends on how the budget will look once passed [in the parliament]," Michal said, adding that deliberations are ongoing.
Asked whether making good on 2030 roadbuilding plans would require additional funding of hundreds of millions of euros, Michal said that the need is far greater than what the current RES prescribes.
"We are doing our best, but the budget is tight and we have only applied for additional roadbuilding funding from military mobility programs. We do not have their answers yet, so well see how those things will go," the minister said.
Michal added that Estonia needs to come up with own resources for road infrastructure investments.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Marcus Turovski