ECIEEA signs €19.7m loan agreement for Global Rail Baltica project
Riga, Latvia (Urban Transport News): The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), a joint venture of the Baltic States RB Rail AS, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, the Ministry of Transport of Latvia and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lithuania, signed cross-border grant agreements for Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for Rail Baltica.
The total budget of the agreement is 19.7 million euros, of which the CEF contribution will be a maximum amount of 16.7 million euros, ie 85% of the total eligible costs under this agreement. The remaining 15% will be funded by the governments of the Baltic States.
“The additional funding of the Connecting Europe Facility and the Baltic States not only reconfirms once again the strong commitment of the EU and the Baltic partners to this unique cross-border project, but will also finalize the remaining work of the planning phase, to accelerate the delivery of the global project by commencing the missing link design contracts on the critical Kaunas – Lithuania / Poland border section as well as Kaunas – Vilnius, and to facilitate the start of the main line construction contracts in Latvia,” says Agnis Driksna, Chairman of the Board of Rail Baltica Joint Venture RB Rail AS.
“It also includes several important studies such as the delivery of the cost-benefit analysis and the next generation business plan for Rail Baltica. Finalizing the design activities already started for the railway facilities and the main line to achieve construction readiness remains the top priority between the project partners,” adds Driksna.
The grant agreement includes the following activities:
- Design of Kaunas railway infrastructure in the station area (Phase I) in Lithuania;
- Design of Kaunas infrastructure maintenance facility in Lithuania;
- Design changes to enable operational developments of Riga Node in Latvia;
- Modification of the detailed technical design of the railway section of Riga Central Station, based on the operational plan of Rail Baltica in Latvia;
- Survey of the Cekule site, identification of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the former military area of Cekule in Latvia;
- Planning for Pärnu County in Estonia;
Funding was also granted for a joint study for the development of the chaining and the Rail Baltica geodetic reference network in the Baltic countries and the IT architecture development strategy.
“Between 2014 and today, seven Rail Baltica projects have been funded by the EU, for a total amount of EU support of over €950 million. This latest project, worth almost 17 million euros for studies and designs, further illustrates the hard work and positive collaboration of all the stakeholders involved. I wish the beneficiaries, RB Rail, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, a smooth implementation of this cross-border project on the North Sea-Baltic Core Network Corridor,” said Morten Jensen, Head of Unit at CINEA.
This grant agreement is the last for the financial period 2014-2020.
Under the 2014-2020 period of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, alongside the recently signed agreement, the three Baltic states and RB Rail AS signed a total of seven grants designed under the funding instrument of the European Union CEF for the construction of the Rail Baltica conventional railway infrastructure. With the previously signed grant agreements, Rail Baltica has thus already obtained around 1.14 billion euros of European and national funds.