The Second CEF Grant Agreement for Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica signed

On November 18, 2016, the Grant Agreement under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) of total value 225 million euros for construction of the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica high-speed railway was signed by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), joint venture of the three Baltic states RB Rail AS and the Ministry of Economics and Communication of Estonia, the Ministry of Transport of Latvia and the Ministry of Transport and Communication of Lithuania. The CEF contribution will be of a maximum amount of 191 million euros which is 85% of total eligible costs. The agreement is meant to supplement the EU co-financing agreement (No INEA/CEF/TRAN/M2014/1045990) signed already on November 23, 2015.

In Estonia, the financing of total value nearly 13 million euro (CEF contribution –  nearly 11 million euros) is allocated for studies on the implementation model for the construction logistics, on Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica general power supply system’s improvement as well as particularly on Pärnu freight terminal. The most of the allocated funds will go for actual construction of the tramline link between Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica Ülemiste Terminal and the Tallinn Airport where works started already in 2016.  Also, feasibility study including spatial and technical analysis and technical design will be developed for the light rail or tram connection from Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica Ülemiste Terminal towards the Old City Harbour, the central passenger harbour in Tallinn, and one more separate study will examine the location for additional freight station in Muuga Port area.

In Latvia, the financing of nearly 0.6 million euros (CEF contribution – nearly 490 thousand euros) will be used for a conformity assessment of the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica railway infrastructure with air navigation infrastructure and services particularly in regards to the Riga International Airport as well as archaeological studies along the planned route.

Moreover, in Lithuania approximately 211.5 million euros (CEF contribution – nearly 180 million euros) will be used for starting of construction works on at least 55 km long section Kaunas-Panevezys-Lithuanian/Latvian state border. Also, it is planned to carry out a study on upgrade for the already built railway line of European standard 1435 mm gauge (in the section from Polish/Lithuanian state border to Kaunas) to meet the Global Project standards. In addition, the allocated money will cover the expenses to develop a plan for the straightening and speed increase in the mentioned section and actual installation works of necessary the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) upgrades together.

According to both Grant Agreements on the EU co-financing of the construction of Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica, the CEF contribution for the project’s activities in total is nearly 633 million euros of which Estonia could receive around 186 million euros, Latvia –  around 238 million euros and Lithuania – around 203 million euros.

The joint venture RB Rail AS is the central coordinator for the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica project. It submits proposals for the CEF grants for the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica global project on behalf of the beneficiaries – the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Latvian Ministry of Transport, and the Lithuanian Ministry of Transport and Communications. INEA sees the joint venture as one to provide information, reports, accountability and relevant timing for all the CEF activities.  The beneficiaries, on the other hand, receive their earmarked CEF funding from RB Rail AS and ensures that the implementing bodies are able to use the said finances for their activities.