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Minister Papazov: We envisage railway projects worth EUR 1 billion for the next programming period of the OP “Transport”

26 September 2013 A+AA-
Minister Papazov: We envisage railway projects worth EUR 1 billion for the next programming period of the OP “Transport”

The total value of the projects in the railway sector which are proposed for implementation in the new programming period of the Operational Programme „Transport" amount to about 1 billion Euros. This was announced by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Danail Papazov at the opening of the conference "Priorities in the transport area for the next programming period 2014-2020".

In his words when planning the next programming period there should be a balance between investments aimed at North and South Bulgaria and between the railway and road sector. "In recent years the main political priority has been the construction of roads and highways. This is important for everyone but the wholesale shippers, the businesses that provide jobs need a fast and competitive railway transport. These are the European priorities. Therefore we suggest that investments in the new programming period should be allocated 50 to 50 per cent between the railway and the road sector" said Danail Papazov.

The expected budget of the Operational Programme "Transport and Transport Infrastructure" 2014 – 2020 is around a billion and a half euros. The Bulgarian state will receive about EUR 350 million under Connecting Europe Facility. "The sums are significant but it is clear that they are insufficient for the projects that we have. Thus today we will present the short listed ones to point out the priority projects for implementation and the ones to keep as spare projects" said Minister Papazov.

Among the main priorities in the railway sector is the completion of the rehabilitation of the entire line Plovdiv - Burgas. During this programming period three sections have been under construction and for completion of the entire track about 350 million Euros will be needed. Another priority project is the construction of the railway line Burgas – Sindel which has been partially constructed over the years. In order for it to be commissioned, a tunnel needs to be completed as well as several sections worth about 170 million Euros. "With a relatively small investment we will make a connection between Northern and Southern Bulgaria and most importantly - between the ports of Varna and Burgas" said Minister Danail Papazov. He stressed out that the importance of this connection will be even greater after the implementation of the project for the construction of a tunnel under the Bosphorus and the sections that are currently under construction under OPT (Plovdiv - Svilengrad - Turkish/Greek borders).

The railway project RuseVarna is to be included in the new period of the operational program and it will connect the Danube River to the ports of Varna and Burgas. Preparation of projects for construction of intermodal terminals in the both cities is also planned. "Our goal is to start the construction of the railway direction Sofia - September. There the section September - Elin Pelin will be constructed with priority, as it is the most ailing one and takes a lot of time for travelling,"said Minister Papazov.

The projects in the road sector also discussed amount to1 billion Euros. The toughest section of "Struma” highway, which covers the Kresna Gorge, is to be a priority for construction. Depending on the rest of the available financial resources, there will be construction works on the VidinSofia track, as the section to Montana will be financed with priority. "I will continue to insist that all the options are considered and if there is any possibility for cost savings, they will be spent for "Hemus" highway”, said Danail Papazov.

"We suggest that during the next programming period the construction of the most difficult part from the third subway line to be financed. It covers the track from Yanko Sakazov Blvd. to Krasno Selo Residential area. Its indicative value is 280 million Euros and it will provide the connection to the other two lines which were completed during the past few years", added Minister Papazov.

During the conference, Minister Danail Papazov presented the projects which are proposed for implementation under Connecting Europe Facility. Application for funding of the project is to be done jointly with Romania so as to eliminate the critical sections of the Danube River. The amount for its implementation is expected to be around 100 million Euros for each of the two countries. The other project to apply for funding under the Facility is the area of Vidin - Medkovets, which is part of the railway connection between the Danube town and the capital city. The project Dragoman - Sofia is being prepared as a spare one.

The forum was attended by representatives of the business and branch organizations in the field of heavy industry, transport, forwarding, tourism, representatives of the local and the executive authorities. During the discussions, the branch presented their expectations and needs to the transport system of the country with focus on the projects proposed for EU funding.

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