During the “Rail Baltica – Business Opportunities in the Baltic States” conference, held on Monday, 18th of May, by Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council in Finland, the President of European Committee of the Regions – Markku Markkula said: “Efficient railway links to Central Europe are a key factor for strengthening the northern dimension of the EU and Rail Baltica is a core part of it.” In his opinion, transport networks play a crucial role in the European Union because they provide a better access to regional markets and ensure competitiveness.
Rail Baltica is a high speed railway corridor project with a goal to integrate the Baltic States in the European rail network. It is one of nine priority projects of the European Union: Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) and the biggest transport infrastructure projects in Baltic States since the restoration of independence in the 90s of the past century.
A high speed railway corridor is expected to be built by 2024. However, according to Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius first results of this project will be visible this year. “I expect the European-standard gauge to be completed on time so that this line reaches Kaunas already this autumn. More than 90 percent of the scheduled tasks have already been completed” the head of government said.
The section from the Polish border to Kaunas (Lithuania) will cost EUR 380 million. What is more, the overall cost of the project crucial for the Baltic States and Poland project will be between EUR 3.7 billion and EUR 5.2 billion.