Finance Minister cuts 1,000,000,000PLN from rail

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'Update 2009: Europe': Jacek Rostowski

Jacek Rostocki, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland.

(Click image to see original on Wikipedia and for details of source and licensing.)

Faced with a 23.6 billion PLN ‘hole’ in this year’s budget, yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers approved savings of 7.6 billion PLN proposed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland, Jacek Rostocki.

The largest cut, 3.14 billion falls on the Ministry of Defence, while the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Maritime Affairs faces a cut of 1.01 billion PLN. The savings will be ‘shared’ by Directorate of Motorways and Trunk roads which loses 2 million PLN and polish railways which lose 1 billion PLN.

Sadly rail, lacking a convincing lobby to defend its interests, is perceived as a ‘soft target’ by the Polish government and is regularly singled out for swingeing cuts which leave road investment effectively unscathed.

While government sources emphasise that the cuts will not effect investment in rail infrastructure upgrades, it seems highly unlikely that Polish railways will be able to take up all the EU infrastructure funds that would have been available had Poland’s rail infrastructure manager, PKP PLK, been more generously funded.

During the period 2007-2013 Polish railways were allocated a pool some 20 billion PLN from EU funds. Unfortunately due to problems in finding “own funds” it appears likely that over 5 billion PLN will be lost.

As for the next funding round, sources close to the European Commission have reported that while Poland has been lobbying hard for funding for light rail and tram projects the same has not been happening for prospective heavy rail investments.

Sources:

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