The Slovenia Times

Govt to establish company to manage Koper-Divača rail project


Potential private partners and countries in the region would be offered to acquire stakes in the company by providing capital injections, while the Slovenian state would keep a minority stake.

The legal basis for the company will be provided by a special law, which is expected to be discussed by the government in March and passed in parliament in May, Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič told the press.

The plan was already welcomed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), which also called for an external analysis of the project, which would include a revision of the price, which currently stands at over 1.3 billion euros.

An analysis is already planned by the government. It is to examine by the end of June the possibilities to simplify and lower the price of the project.

The analysis will focus on passenger transport on the new rail line and the anticipated speed of travel. A final solution will be known after the analysis has been made, the minister told the press.

He added that the bill establishing the company would also include provisions allowing that one of the freight piers in Luka Koper be leased out.

This option has been mentioned in a scenario that involves Hungary as a second rail line investor in exchange for a lease of a port pier.

The minister also explained today that the planned company would only manage the second rail line, while the rest of the railway infrastructure would remain in the hands of national railway operator Slovenske železnice.

Similarly, a concession owner would only manage the leased pier, while Luka Koper would remain in charge of all the other infrastructure in Slovenia's only maritime port.

Slovenia is currently discussing the second rail line construction with Hungary and more is to be known after a joint session of both government's on 22 January.

Gašperšič however said last month that Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland were also interested in the project.

Slovenia is looking for private partners and partner countries for this key rail upgrade after it has failed to secure funding from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Slovenia's EU commissioner in charge of transport, Violeta Bulc, has recently indicated that Slovenia is planning to tap into CEF funding in 2018.

The planned rail line is only 27 kilometres long but its construction is expensive due to the terrain, with the bulk of the rail line consisting of tunnels, viaducts and bridges.


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