The Slovenia Times

Investment plan for new railway to Koper port adopted


The value of the project is estimated at EUR 968m at current prices, but together with a reserve for unexpected works and interest the total price tag will be EUR 1.2bn, Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said after the cabinet session.

The track will be only 27 kilometres long, but the steep price is attributed to the high number of tunnels and bridges on the tricky karst terrain.

Funding will be secured with a mix of loans, public spending and fees for the use of infrastructure and may include investment by a landlocked country that uses the Koper port.

The previous government launched talks with Hungary on an EUR 200m investment, but even though that option was later put on the back burner due to geopolitical and economic concerns, Bratušek said it remained on the table for now.

This option is still open, but the coalition will now have to decide whether talks with Hungary or other countries will continue, she said.

Regardless of the funding, she said the project was economically viable and would pay for itself with fees levied on lorries, which are already being collected, fees for the use of the new track, and a special fee on the transshipment at the port.

"These three sources have actually been secured, they are not just on paper," the minister said.

Dušan Zorko, who was appointed director general of the state company managing the project two weeks ago, said the adoption of the plan meant "a green light", allowing 2DTK to start introducing the two contractors to the preparation works already on Friday.

Also, concrete talks can start with banks, with Zorko saying commercial banks had shown a lot of interest so far.

A civil council overseeing the project also commented on the investment plan today, but it expects to present a detailed analysis on Friday next week.

The preliminary finding is that the project remains severely overpriced, while the council's head Emil Milan Pintar also told the STA that in recent months "things are being pushed forward so fast that nobody can really participate seriously".


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