New Transport Minister: rail, roads and public transport will be priorities

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Newly-instaled Minister of Transport Jānis Vitenbergs (National Alliance) said December 14 his main priorities in office will be "the development of railway, public transport, and road infrastructure."

On 14 December 2022 the Saeima approved Vitenbergs as Minister of Transport. Previously he held the position of Economics Minister twice, with a short pause between the two stints, the first one as a representative of the KPV LV party and then, after that party collapsed, as a representative of the National Alliance. 

 “The industry’s biggest challenge is to ‘green’ traffic, considering that vehicles are one of the biggest sources of air pollution. As elsewhere in Europe, we will continue to strengthen the railway as the backbone of public transport in Latvia by investing in its development with funding from the state budget and European Union (EU) funds,” pledged Vitenbergs.

As part of the modernization of railway traffic, new, modern electric trains will start running on the Riga-Jelgava, Riga-Aizkraukle, Riga-Skulte, and Riga-Tukums routes next year. Before the end of 2023, modernisation of railway stations and stops and construction of 48 elevated train platforms are also planned.

The construction of the Riga Central Railway hub and the section of the Riga International Airport, the design of sections of the main track, as well as the development of construction projects for the Salaspils Intermodal Cargo Terminal, Rail Baltica regional stations and infrastructure maintenance points will also continue.

“Regional public transport plays a key role in ensuring the mobility of population throughout the country. One expects that regional bus traffic throughout the country will provide passenger transportation with modern equipped and comfortable buses in the second half of next year. Also, a wider implementation of the unified public transport ticket system in regional passenger transport is planned, giving the opportunity to buy a single ticket from the starting point of a trip to a destination on routes of regional significance,” stated the Minister of Transport.

Vitenbergs replaces Tālis Linkaits after the Conservatives party of which he is a member failed to make it into parliament during October elections.

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