RB Rail joint venture cancels meeting with opposing Estonian NGO ({{commentsTotal}})

Avalikult Rail Balticust is a pro-transparency NGO.
Avalikult Rail Balticust is a pro-transparency NGO. Source: (Liis Treimann/Postimees/Scanpix)

Estonian pro-transparency NGO Avalikult Rail Balticust (ARB, Openly About Rail Baltic) was supposed to meet with representatives of joint venture RB Rail AS in Riga on Monday, but the meeting was canceled as the latter did not want the meeting to be recorded.

"RB Rail AS is the commissioner of a publicly funded construction and Ernst & Young (EY) is the company that carried out the cost-benefit analysis of a publicly funded construction," ARB board member Priit Humal said. "Therefore, they should take responsibility for their words and allow for the recording of explanations because they have not provided any written explanations in three months."

He added that the public has the right to receive public answers in a format which can be reproduced and analyzed afterwards.

According to Humal, the biggest error in the cost-benefit analysis was made when calculating the cost of clean air. It was stated in the study that Rail Baltic's biggest benefit would be clean air, but using incorrect indicators has resulted in increasing the cost of clear air 25-fold.

"As a result of large errors in the cost-benefit analysis, the railway project is not profitable and does not qualify for EU support," he said. "If support is paid out based on a faulty cost-benefit analysis which misleadingly shows Rail Baltic as being socio-economically profitable, the European Commission might ask for the support back after the money has been spent. As a result, the €5.6 billion connected with building Rail Baltic would have to be paid by Baltic taxpayers."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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