An article in today’s daily Pravda looks at the inflated costs of building a motorway bypass around Bratislava, pointing to how similar projects in Austria and the Czech Republic were much cheaper.
The project to build the much-awaited circular bypass was set up as a public-private partnership project with the government earmarking some EUR 1.3 billion for around 60 kilometres of road, but this would bump up to around EUR 4.5 billion together with a 30-year road management service with the private company that wins the order.
That amount would suck out about EUR 150 million a year from the state purse for the next 30 years and mean taxpayers would be paying EUR 75 million for every kilometre, while the daily quotes a price of EUR 39 million per kilometre in Austria and even less than EUR 10 million in the Czech Republic.
Deputy prime minister for investments and former transport minister Lubomir Vazny rejected the claim, saying the prices are not comparable as the projects are different. The Slovak project is a demanding one, with the Ministry of Transport led by Jan Pociatek arguing that this is also because of the construction of a bridge and some raised concrete barriers. The Austrians managed to have a tunnel built in their price, which is almost half of what Slovakia could pay.
Lubomir Vazny has already had a finger pointed at him in the past, with transport minister Jan Pociatek also having faced various accusations in the past. As transport minister, Vazny was accused of allowing a falsified analysis to be used for a PPP project for the D1 motorway, but the tender was eventually cancelled after a change of government as it was overpriced.
The state could finance the project in much cheaper ways, either by making use of European funds or by dealing with the project itself, as most of the money in the prepared PPP project would be interest on loans to finance the project. The Ministry of Transport is already looking for a potential partner for the project, which looks set to be highly lucrative for the lucky winner.