TASR, Teraz.sk, 09.12.2013


Four Consortia Submit Bids for Broad-gauge Railway Feasibility Study 

      Bratislava, December 9 (TASR) - Four international consortia have submitted technical and price bids for drafting a feasibility study for the construction of a broad-gauge railway line between Kosice and Vienna, advocate Jana Martinkova has confirmed for TASR.

      Slovak firms are also in the frame and have a chance of success, said the advocate. "It would be difficult to carry this out without their know-how," she added.

      The tender is being run by Vienna-based company Breitspur Planungsgesellschaft GmbH, which is jointly controlled by Russian, Ukrainian, Austrian and Slovak rail companies. The firm will select the winner of the tender and supplier of the feasibility study in June 2014.
      It's difficult to set an exact date on which the results of the feasibility study are likely to be known, how ever. "It would be sheer speculation to talk about a specific and more importantly about a correct date. This has only been confirmed by the developments recorded to date, as these have been influenced mainly by diplomatic and strategic factors as opposed to a single economic one - the result of the now-to-be prepared feasibility study. We're in a phase in which we're expecting a public procurement process to be announced for the project's economic and legal element," observed the advocate.

      The construction of the broad-gauge railway will be financially viable if it entails the haulage of more than 26 tonnes of goods per year. "According to early analyses, building and running a broad-gauge railway line would help Slovakia not only via increases in employment, but also by a significant economic profit. Conversely, by rejecting the project we would open the door to economic growth for our northern and southern neighbours, with Slovakia ending up deprived even of its current operating profits," cautioned Martinkova.
      The project to extend the broad-gauge railway line has long been criticised by the Opposition parties, which argue that hundreds of people in eastern Slovakia, particularly in Cierna nad Tisou, Velke Kapusany and Kralovsky Chlmec (Kosice region) would lose jobs tied to the current cargo terminal in Cierna nad Tisou and the associated reloading stations. "Slovakia can't afford to finance such a project from its state budget at present. Moreover, it's insane to fund a project that will take work away from Slovakia using the money of Slo vak tax-payers," claimed SDKU-DS vice-chairman Viliam Novotny in the past. 

      According to Slovakia's Engineering Industry Association president Alexej Beljajev, such projects always depend on political decisions. Nonetheless, Slovakia's economy shouldn't suffer any harm due to the infrastructure project. "Nobody would want to see materials such as coal and iron ore, which amount to around 80 percent of the current cargo volume flowing along the broad-gauge railway to Slovakia, reloaded in Vienna. This will remain the domain of Cierna nad Tisou in the future. On the contrary, products with higher added value will pour into the region of Bratislava, Vienna and Gyor [Hungary], which is ready for them in terms of logistics," asserted Beljajev.