The significance of the Rail Baltica project in the new geopolitical conditions and the provision of a fast and reliable connection of the Baltic region with Western Europe is especially high, as Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits stated at the meeting of the Economics, Energy and Innovation Committee of the Baltic Assembly (BA) on Friday.
The Minister informed the MPs about the progress of the implementation of the Rail Baltica project and the challenges posed by the new geopolitical situation.
“Latvia has made significant progress in the implementation of Rail Baltica and it is necessary to work especially intensively in the new geopolitical conditions to ensure further progress of the project and fast, convenient, and safe connection of the Baltic region with Western Europe,” said T. Linkaits, emphasizing the project’s military mobility potential in the region.
Design is currently underway on the entire 265 km of the future European railway line, as the work on the final design of construction projects is still underway in four sections, and construction is already underway in two, that is, the Riga Central Station and in connection with Rail Baltica and the Riga International Airport. Several strategically important procurements have been announced for the project, including the construction of the Rail Baltica main route in Latvia, in order to start construction outside Riga in the first half of 2023, as well as for the development and author supervision of the Salaspils intermodal freight terminal. One also plans to start a negotiation procedure with construction contractors to conclude an agreement on the design and author supervision of 17 regional mobility points of Rail Baltica in Latvia.
In Latvia, in the implementation of the Rail Baltica project, the construction of the southern section of the route to the Lithuanian border is a priority for connecting with our neighboring country and get closer to the European Union railway system.
To ensure the smooth further progress and timely implementation of the project, the Ministry of Transport is also considering alternative material supply solutions and additional funding opportunities outside the EU funding of the Connecting Europe Facility, incl. from the Three Seas Initiative Fund and the Military Mobility envelope, as well as through private-public partnership projects.
The Ministry of Transport is the beneficiary of the Rail Baltica project and the recipient of European Union (EU) support. The EU Connecting Europe Facility provides project financing in the range of 81–85%, and the remaining part is provided by the Latvian state budget. RB Rail AS and SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas are the implementing bodies of the Rail Baltica project in Latvia.