The Slovenia Times

Only Public-Private Partnership Can "Deliver" Koper-Divača Rail


"The emphasis is not on public funds, we are looking for other options. The government does not want to burden taxpayers, nor is that even possible at this point," Prime Minister Miro Cerar said after a meeting of coalition partners.

Accordingly, the government plans to submit an application for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). "We will do everything to file the the end of the month," he said.

The decision comes amidst intense lobbying by pressure groups to apply for CEF funding for the Koper-Divača track that could net it about EUR 380m, according to media reports.

Media reported that the pressure has been so pronounced it threatened to sweep away Infrastructure Minister Peter Gašperšič, who has been very cautious about the project.

Indeed, in an interview for the STA at the end of January Gašperšič argued against rushing the project.

The application "can also be submitted next year". This is better than "starting the project only to find out later that we cannot cover it financially", like in the TEŠ 6 energy project, Gašperšič said at the time.

Today Gašperšič said Slovenia would apply for the funding and state in the application that the project would be part-financed with a public-private partnership. "Which form [of partnership] will be selected is yet to be determined," he said.

Cerar strongly backed the minister today, saying he "enjoys my support as well as the support of the coalition partners." He said media reports about Gapšeršič's post being on the line were "disinformation".

The decision comes despite sceptics warning that applying for the funds before the financial plan is even finalised and all permits sorted out is riddled with uncertainty.

They point to the ill-fated TEŠ6 project at the Šoštanj coal-fired power plant, which was similarly rushed without much input from energy experts and whose costs more than doubled to over EUR 1.4bn.

Proponents of moving fast on the project, meanwhile, insist Slovenia is in a hurry, as further delays could cost it dearly as it loses the status of rail transit country to Austria and Croatia.

The project is seen as vital to the survival of the Port of Koper, which will hit its limit within years if the track, currently the biggest bottleneck on the rail network, is not upgraded.


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