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Date Posted: 00:33:02 03/15/10 Mon
Author: DrX
Subject: Updates on Slovak highway construction

A couple of updates about EU funding of the Slovak highways. First a good news:
EC approved financing for the R1 Žarnovica - Šášovské Podhradie express way (http://www.webnoviny.sk/ekonomicke-spravy/ek-da-na-r1-zarnovica---sas-podhra/87706-clanok.html). This section is almost done, at the cost of 7mil EUR/km (1mil EUR/km for the Slovak tax payer - compare that to the cost of PPP2 project on the same highway which will be tens to hundred times more expensive...).

Now the bad news:
The National Highways company (NDS) stopped the tenders for two highway sections for which the EU funding has been recently approved. First, the tender for the construction supervision of the R4 Kosice - Milhost has been cancelled. This should be a minor issue, not causing a big delay (
http://www.webnoviny.sk/ekonomicke-spravy/nds-v-tendri-na-dozor-pre-r4-porusila-z/84696-clanok.html).

What's more interesting, and more suspicious of governmental corruption, is that the tender for the D3 highway near Zilina has been canceled because the lowest offer (by Skanska) was too low, according to the NDS (http://ekonomika.sme.sk/c/5276054/v-dialnicnom-tendri-trafila-iba-sirokeho-firma.html). As with the tender for the highway toll system, it is likely that the real reason for the cancellation is that the ministry+NDS wants the Slovak companies with direct connections to the current government to win the tenders I'm curious what the EU will say about this. My prediction: as happened several times before, the government-preferred companies will win. Then the EC will refuse to refinance the project and its overpriced cost will all be paid by the Slovak taxpayer.

And, finally, one related good news for Eastern Slovakia (http://www.kosice.sk/article.asp?id=7212). The EC just approved 110mil EUR for the development of regional rail system around Kosice. This is not so much about highways, but it points again to the importance of the EU regional policy. If this was in the competence of the Slovak government, we would by now hear 10000 reasons for why the money would be by now diverted to somewhere between Bratislava and Zilina...

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