Ersek Expects Ministry to Get Extra €200 mn in Reallocation from Other Funds

11. októbra 2018 12:08
Bratislava, October 11 (TASR) - Transport and Construction Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) expects he might get an extra €200 million above the ministry's budget in the form of reallocations from EU funds and other operational programmes next year. As he said following the Government session on Wednesday (October 10) where Peter Pellegrini's Cabinet okayed the 2019 state budget draft, this money might go, for example, to roads either for the National Highway Company (NDS) that administers motorways and expressways, or for the Slovak Road Administration that takes care of the first-category roads. They might go to the railway companies, too. "It's not a small sum. Naturally, I must wait for the final reallocation figure," said Ersek. In line with the 2019 state budget draft, the amount of €1.15 billion should be available to the Transport Ministry next year. This is a decrease of €22.4 million compared to the budget approved for this year. However, Ersek pointed to the fact that the ministry also draws EU funds, mentioning expected additional resources from EU funds reallocated from other operational programmes that haven't been withdrawn. In addition, a reserve of €150 million is available to the Transport Ministry at the Finance Ministry and it can used if necessary, for example on road construction that cannot be covered from EU funds. Ersek highlighted the fact that the ministry acquired €5 million more for airports for next year. The money should head for ensuring security and fire-fighter service at airports. In addition, tourism should get €2.1 more than last year. "We must be ready to spend these financial resources, and I believe we are," stated the minister. State-run railway infrastructure operator ZSR criticised the draft budget for the Transport Ministry. It views the budget as devastating for ZSR and not corresponding to the requirement for balanced management under the current Railway Infrastructure Operation Agreement. The rail infrastructure operator said it had asked for an operating subsidy of €316.5 million for 2019. According to ZSR, the pressure for higher subsidies arises especially with the urgent need to carry out deferred maintenance amounting to €55 million. "However, the subsidy for the operation of the railway infrastructure is only calculated at the level of €250 million for the whole year, so it doesn't cover the need of ZSR in the amount of €66.5 million for the year 2019," says the company. However, Ersek replied that the original €250 million for ZSR has been increased to €270 million for this and next year. The company is drawing an additional €230 million from EU funds, too. "In addition, it has its own incomes," stated the minister. ko/mcs
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