The feasibility study on extension of Košice-Vienna broad gauge line will be drafted by the Bernard-Valbek-Obermayer consortium, without the participation of any Slovak firm.
The consortium won the tender due to best price, which represented one of three evaluated criteria. Bernard-Valbek-Obermayer will draft the study for approximately EUR 6 million, with the runner-up – consortium of ILF-Werner Consult-Reming Consult – submitting a bid of approximately EUR 11 million.
The tender for feasibility study was announced by Breitspur Planungsgesellschaft (Austria) under joint control by Austrian, Ukrainian, Russian and Slovak railway companies. Slovak ZSR railway infrastructure owner confirmed that the whole tender is to be run exclusively by the Austrian company: regulated by Austrian legislative rules, with the tender announced also in the European Public Procurement Journal.
The feasibility study is supposed to evaluate the environmental impacts as well as determine the route and construction details. Furthermore, the study will determine the location of the new cargo terminal in the Vienna-Bratislava region.
Preliminary estimates put the cost of broad gauge railway at EUR 6 billion, with the sources of funding remaining unclear at this point. According to Transport, Construction and Regional Development Minister Jan Pociatek, the railway route would only yield benefits for the country, as this is a strategic project linking Asia and Europe would thus represent an alternative to water transport.
The railway has been heavily criticised by Opposition politicians, however, citing loss of hundreds of jobs in economically undeveloped eastern regions of Cierna nad Tisou, Velke Kapusany and Kralovsky Chlmec. Most recently, head of the Transport and Economy Institute Ondrej Matej and former SDKU-DS party MP and advisor to then prime minister Iveta Radicova said that Slovakia would be best off if it pulled out of the project and took its own path on transport integration.