Survey: Latvians feel less informed about Rail Baltica project than they did

An annual survey carried out to gauge the level of support for the major Rail Baltica infrastructure project, and the degree to which people feel informed about it suggests not much has changed in four years as far as Latvia is concerned.

Just over 1,000 people were surveyed online in each Baltic state by the Berg research company, and while a press release from RB Rail – the joint venture in charge of the project – said results showed "an increase
of the general support for Rail Baltica" the data gives a very mixed picture, particularly in Latvia.

Asked how well informed people felt about the project, Latvians said they were less informed than they were four years ago. Indeed, this metric has fallen in every year the survey has been conducted. 

It is worth noting that in the responses below "I am not informed at all" attracts a score of 1 rather than zero, so even if everyone surveyed had said they knew nothing at all about the project, the score would still have been 1 out of 5 (and the graph below only displays 4 on the vertical axis, not 5).

Rail Baltica awareness

Asked to what extent they supported the Rail Baltica project, Latvians gave a score of 3.9 out of 5, which is indeed up on the previous year's score of 3.7 but only level with the 3.9 score the year before that. In Lithuania and Estonia, support for the project also grew slightly on the year, though Estonians remain in general more skeptical about Rail Baltica than Lithuanians and Latvians.

Again, it is worth noting that "I do not support it at all" still attracts a score of 1 rather than zero, which is what one might normally assume would reflect complete opposition. But this time all 5 levels of support do appear on the vertical axis.

Support for Rail Baltica project

Nevertheless, RB Rail saw the results as positive. "The results showed that the general support level for the largest railway infrastructure project in the Baltics has slightly increased comparing to the previous years across all three Baltic States. The highest support for the project shows in Lithuania with more than 70% of the respondents sharing their positive attitude, followed by Latvia (66%) and Estonia (47%). The general awareness and information level have remained stable compared to the year before in all three countries," RB Rail claimed.

“For this global megaproject to succeed, support of the society and critical stakeholders is of a great importance, and we are happy to see that the overall support for the Rail Baltica is growing,” said Agnis Driksna, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board at RB Rail AS.

Rail Baltica is the largest infrastructure project in the Baltic States over the past 100 years. High-speed electrified railway lines of 870 km in European gauge will be built. Total costs in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are EUR 5.8 billion. 85% of the cost will be financed by the European Union (EU), with the remainder covered by the three countries themselves.

The annual online survey among the residents of the Baltic States was commissioned by the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS and carried out by Berg Research. The data collection was implemented via the SIA “SolidData” Internet User panel with the target audience aged 18-75, and with over 3,000 respondents in total (1003 respondents in Latvia; 1006 respondents in Lithuania; 1004 respondents in Estonia).

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