MEP Zīle: Rail Baltica will pay for itself

The Rail Baltica high-speed railway will pay for itself as concerns both passenger and cargo transit, Latvian MEP Roberts Zīle told Latvian Radio's Labrīt on Monday.

Zīle said that it's the verdict of international companies that reviewed the potential economic returns of the rail line.

"This project has been researched at the AECOM statistics office...they evaluated it as a project that can pay for itself," he said.

"It's clear that [the rail line] will pay for itself as concerns day-to-day maintenance," said Zīle, allowing however that the investment part, most of which is to be granted by the EU, will not be recovered.

Zīle said that in this respect Rail Baltica will outperform the Rīga-St. Petersburg and Riga-Moscow rail lines that are being subsidized. 

As for the agreement the Baltics reached on Rail Baltica contracts last week, he said that it's a "good compromise that did not come easily". 

Rail Baltica envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland), going via Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). The Baltic route should be completed by 2025; the link to Warsaw-2030.

By 2020, the three Baltic states will receive a total of €442.2 million for the Rail Baltica project, with the total cost of the project at €5bn. Of the total cost, 85% of will come from the EU and 15% from the member states involved.

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