Minister of Economic Affairs Kadri Simson (Centre) emphasised that there is no reason to expect the Rail Baltica project to get shelved. Following a recent meeting with EU transport commissioner, Violeta Bulc, the project has the highest-level support it could wish for, Simson said.
Simson said that regional plans have been established with regard to the railway corridor in Estonia, and that a preliminary project is ready for implementation. The procurement phase for the infrastructure project's technical designs has been initiated, which means that work on the main planning substance has now begun, she added.
"The parliament adopted a law this year that hopefully helps to facilitate the purchase of any relevant land in cooperation with the owner and without a legal dispute," the minister added.
The project is now being introduced in more detail at the local level. Since October, meetings with local governments have been taking place to discuss the project.
As expected, some parts of the project do come with difficulties, a fact that couldn't be avoided given its scale, Simson said. One of them is cutting through the Rääma bog in Pärnu County, an area especially environmentalists are greatly worried about. Though a solution already exists, alternatively are currently looked into, the minister added.
Rail Baltica is a double track, European standard-gauge electrified railway for passenger and freight transport, to be built between Tallinn and the Lithuanian-Polish border. The railway will have an overall length of 870 kilometres. The Estonian section will cost an expected €1.6 billion, which already represents an 18% cost overrun.
Editor: Dario Cavegn