Rail Baltica route battle will need to be won: PM

Resistance from some local communities to the proposed route of the Rail Baltica high-speed rail link will need to be overcome for the multi-million euro project to proceed on schedule, Prime Minister Maris Kučinskis said Tuesday. 

Kučinskis offered a conciliatory tone to residents of the Salacgrīva municipality who have offered particularly strong opposition to the routing of the high-speed rail link which is planned to be built using a large amount of EU funds over the next decade and aims to link the Baltic capitals with Warsaw and Berlin.

At a meeting of his cabinet Tuesday, the government would likely vote to press on with the project but keep the vexed question of where exactly the track should go an open one, Kučinskis said.

"We've been following everything going on in and around Salacgriva and it's very important to take residents' views into consideration... but there is a limited time before we need to move on," the premier said, stressing that constant alterations to plans would not play well in Brussels.

Salacgriva residents argue the proposed route would involve the demolition of too many buildings and would impinge on a protected nature reserve, suggesting an alternative route.

The total cost of constructing Rail Baltica is estimated at €3.68 billion according to European Commission figures. The Latvian stretch of track will cost €1.27 billion. Around 80% of the cost will be paid for by EU co-financing.

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