Rail Baltica funding agreement signed


2016 11 21


On November 18, the European Commission Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the joint venture between the three Baltic States RB Rail AS and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania as well as relevant ministries of Latvia and Estonia signed a funding agreement on providing about EUR 180 million from EU funds to finance the development and works of the Rail Baltica project in the territory of Lithuania. This sum will cover 85 per cent of the cost of the project’s future works.

“This agreement is the result of continuous work, which was achieved thanks to the joint efforts of all partners of the project. The signing of Rail Baltica agreements emphasizes the project’s maturity and is another step towards the final goal – constructing a European standard gauge railway line in the Baltic States by 2025,” says the Lithuanian Acting Minister of Transport and Communications Rimantas Sinkevičius.

The EU funds allocated under this agreement will be used to extend the Rail Baltica European gauge railway from Kaunas to the border with Latvia. The 55km railway section will be fitted with a road bed and related infrastructure elements: viaducts, underbridges, cattle creeps, bridges. There is also a plan to carry out a feasibility study on expanding the European railway gauge built last year in the section between the Poland-Lithuania border and Kaunas. Based on the results of the feasibility study, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), signalling and other systems will be installed.

This is a third funding agreement of the Rail Baltica project. Nearly EUR 710 million from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund will be allocated for the implementation of the Rail Baltica project in the Baltic States, with EUR 310 million of this amount earmarked for Lithuania.

Seeking to secure EU investment for other development stages of Rail Baltica, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are going to submit an additional application before February 2017 under a third transport call for proposals launched by the CEF.

The Rail Baltica European gauge railway will connect Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as well as Finland by a train ferry. This is the biggest Lithuanian transport infrastructure project since the restoration of the country’s independence. It was awarded the status of a national critical infrastructure.