Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) could rebuild a 19-kilometer rail track to Renge in 2019, the railway operator's chief executive officer said after the government on Wednesday told the state-owned company to appeal to a EU court against a 28-million-euro fine imposed by the European Commission for removing the stretch to neighboring Latvia.
© Lietuvos geležinkeliai

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai CEO Mantas Bartuška also said that the company would likely pay the fine by Jan. 7 from its own resources, adding that it might borrow some of the money.

"The Renge track must be rebuilt as part of the penalty from the European Commission. Apparently, it will be a project of 2019," the CEO told BNS.

"As to the scope of work, assessments will be made of what needs to be rebuilt, because the stretch has not been used for eight years now. It may take as many as two years, including all the documentation and physical works," he said.

Bartuška said that Lietuvos Geležinkeliai had until early January to submit a plan to the EU's executive body, adding that rebuilding the track might cost less than the earlier estimated 20 million euros.

"There are no recent estimates. We will update the cost estimate. I hope we will be able to do the work in a more optimal way, that is, cheaper," he said.

According to the CEO, the company, which has until Jan. 7 to pay the fine, is currently looking for the most efficient way of doing so.

"We are considering providing a bank guarantee, borrowing some of the money or using accumulated funds. There is no final decision," Bartuška said.

"However, there are indications that a bank guarantee could be even more expensive because of the very strict requirements. It could be somewhat cheaper to borrow or use our own capital. We will chose the cheapest option," he added.

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