Operational Programme on Transport and Transport Infrastructure 2014-2020

Minister Danail Papazov: Railway projects will be a primary priority for the next programming period

11 July 2013
Minister Danail Papazov: Railway projects will be a primary priority for the next programming period

The top priority for Operational Programme “Transport” will be the development of railway infrastructure and the projects for intermodality improvement. This was announced by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications in a televised interview. According to him, efforts will be directed in several sectors – the railway connection between the Serbian and Turkish/Greek border as well as the “VidinSofia” direction. The transport hubs in Ruse and Varna are of vital importance, as they provide the link between the river and the sea, so for the next programming period we will offer funding for the line connecting them.” he added.

“The road projects remain a priority, but at a European level more emphasis is put on the railways.” said Minister Papazov. He explained that the work will continue towards the completion of highway “Struma”, construction of highway “Hemus” and funding opportunities for highway “Black Sea” will be explored.

“Of extreme importance to the transport system’s development are the intermodal terminals”, said Minister Papazov. In his words, all studies show that such posts must not only be present in the major Black Sea ports but in Vidin as well.

During the discussion it became clear that Bulgarian State Railways (BSR) is in a critical position, however, specific measures to rescue the company have been identified. The first is a debt-for-equity exchange method. “External auditors will be called in to ensure that that the assets transferred from BSR to the National Company “Railway Infrastructure” are assessed on their market price.” said Minister Papazov. According to him, only such measures can wipe the internal debt accumulated over the years.

"We need very urgent measures, so we had a meeting with the World Bank to explore the possibility of borrowing against restructuring commitment," said Daniel Papazov. He explained that the planned measures are discussed with creditors because currently BSR is more dependent on them. "It is very important to succeed to apply for the next programming period for European funding for the purchase of new rolling stock," added Minister Papazov.

The problems of road transport were also discussed as Minister Daniel Papazov announced that all topics will be discussed at the regular public councils, which were already set up in the ministry. In his words European funding opportunities for improving the bus fleet have been explored and an increased monitoring of illegal traffic has been ordered.

Minister Papazov said that immediately after yesterday's tragic incident in which taxi crashed into the station on boulevard Tcarigradsko Shose, teams from the Executive Agency "Automobile Administration" have been sent to get acquainted with the case in place. "All documentation of the taxi and the driver which are within our competence are accurate, but I've ordered further examination of the case," he added.