Draft Bill on the Construction of Second Railroad Line Divača-Koper
The Ministry of Infrastructure has prepared a draft bill on the construction of second railroad line Divača-Koper. On 30 March, the Government will review this document. The start of construction works is scheduled for autumn. The implementation of this programme is the first condition for the timely preparation of supporting documentation in order to apply for the EU funding until 14 July.
According to one of the draft bill authors Rajko Pirnat, the finalized document is based on the international partnership rather than on the public-private one. During the construction, several EU Member States can participate in the project making it easier to receive part of the earmarked funds (from different sources) to implement the project.
14 July 2017 is the deadline, until which Hungary and possibly the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland should indicate what proportion of the funds they are willing to invest in the project. Hungary may invest up to 200 million euros in 2TDK.
Interest of Hungary
“For its investment, Hungary requires no shares—neither in the port of Luka Koper, nor in the Slovenske Železnice Company. It does not insist on the privileges in the management of rail freight and does not claim the priority decision in selecting contractors,” the State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure Jure Leben says. Hungary is driven by a desire to develop the “amber corridor” in the most expeditious and efficient way.
Controlling Interest to the Government
The 2TDK Company is more likely to receive a concession for financing the construction and administering the second railroad line. The draft bill stipulates that the State would remain the majority owner (at least one share more than all other co-owners) of the 2TDK shares. Slovenia has allocated 200 million euros of budget funds to this company, wherein this amount could grow by another 55 million. The share of irrevocable earmarked funds of the European foundations for the 2TDK company will not affect the distribution of shares.
“2TDK could invest by using funds from different sources and receive funds to its own bank account. By carrying out public procurement, it would take care of investments while remaining the owner of the infrastructure for the entire concession period (30 years), and the land would belong to the State that provides the company-investor with the property rights to the infrastructure facilities,” Rajko Pirnat says. He adds that the draft bill regulates project financing through the mechanisms for obtaining resources and repayment of loans rather than via determined specific amounts. The bill also enables the company to receive income from investment.
Construction Operator — SŽ Infrastruktura
The bill provides that SŽ Infrastruktura remains the engeneering operator of construction. However, it also provides three sources of funding: tunnel toll or fee for new investment, truck toll (to unload existing motorways) and additional fee for the right to transport cargo through the port of Luka Koper (fee for transportation, which is a way to recoup the investment in the second railroad line). If these funds are not sufficient, the difference will be covered by a subsidy from the budget, as the Minister of Infrastructure Peter Gašperšič assures. After 30 years, the railroad line will become the property of the State.
Preparatory Works Begin in Autumn
The state bill 2TDK is crucial for a comprehensive implementation of such a large-scale investment program.
In autumn, the relevant ministry will launch preparatory works, which, in fact, will be the real start of constructing the second railroad line Divača-Koper. The works will begin as soon as the tendering procedure on selecting the contractor is finished.