ZAGREB, Oct 2 (Croatia Sun News) – Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic, addressing a conference on Tuesday marking the 150th anniversary of the start of construction of the Zagreb – Rijeka railway line, announced that about €3.5 billion would be invested by 2030 in the reconstruction and construction of the railway infrastructure.
Opening a business forum, Butkovic said that the Zagreb-Rijeka railway had a lot of potential even today and that the development of the railway infrastructure was one of the main preconditions to achieve the full potential of the port of Rijeka. He said that an estimated €3.5 billion would be invested by 2030 in the reconstruction and construction of Croatia’s railway infrastructure.
He recalled that in the 1990s railway freight transport accounted for 90% of transport at the Rijeka port but with the construction of the motorway a part of freight transport was redirected and now railway freight at the port accounts for about 25% of turnover. Today more than ever it is necessary to change those statistics, he said adding that the transport strategy has recognised the potential of the Zagreb-Rijeka railway line for freight transport and that the European Commission too has recognised the potential of railway freight transport and has financed the construction of several railway lines in Croatia, listing several railway infrastructure projects.
Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said that it was necessary to embark on strategic projects as soon as possible, while Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel commented on the poor state of the Rijeka passenger railway station considering that next year Rijeka would be the European Capital of Culture and that it was necessary to construct a railway line to modern standards.
“This has been talked about for decades and I hope that the time has come for us all to get to work. I have warned on several occasions that the railway station needs to be reconstructed and hope that will be done soon,” the mayor said.
Butkovic said that money for the railway station had been secured and that two tenders had been advertised, but the bids were significantly higher than the estimated value of the project. He added that a new tender would be advertised soon with corrected prices and that he hoped contracts would be signed before the end of the year.