The second portion of EU’s financial assistance to Bulgarian transport infrastructure is already prepared and now it remains to be channeled into the correct direction. According to the sources of the BANKER the project of the Operational Programme Transport 2014-2020, remains the only to undergo a final polishing before being sent for approval to Brussels. Unlike the previous one, this time the problem is much more complicated because once proposed for funding projects can no longer be changed on the go. The direct political responsibility for the distribution of money, of course, rests on the shoulders of the current Minister of Transport Daniel Papazov. From a purely technical point of view, the content of the programme was developed by the director of Coordination of Programmes and Projects Department, Galina Vasileva, together with a team of 60 people.
In principle, the basic requirement of Brussels is the programme to comply with the EU strategy Europe 2020 – smart, sustainable, inclusive growth and to promote the transition
to a low carbon economy
This is difficult if in a country where the condition of the transport network is, to put it mildly, inadequate.
Automobile transport has the problem of poor conditions of the road infrastructure – unfinished main motorway network, a large number of road sections with a maximum allowable traffic, lack of bypass roads in many cities and towns. At the same time the country sees steadily increasing volume of traffic in high-end roads. According to forecasts for 2020 the traffic on motorways, and first-class roads is expected to grow by 40% compared to 2010, while that of class II roads – by 37.8 percent.
But the construction of highways and other roads, as mentioned, is not among Europe’s priorities, as it leads to more emissions. The European Community today relies much more on railways. Therefore the balance between highways and railways will be too delicate, which is evident from the draft of the new Transport programme where again they
identified five priority axes
the first is the Development of railway infrastructure in basic and extended Transeuropean transport network.
In practice, the funds for railways and roads are shared equally – at 572,345,000 euros for each main sector. But one has to add to this the additional national funding of 101,002,058 euros. The proposal of minister Papazov and the official in charge of construction Desislava Terzieva, the national co-financing under ‘Transport’ to reach 50% apparently failed to enjoy a particularly warm welcome in the government.
But apart from that,
the flagship projects in railways
in Bulgaria will be the second phase of modernization of the line from Plovdiv to Burgas. In addition to the main construction, which is under way now, a fiber optic cable along the entire stretch will be installed. Separately, the sections Plovdiv – Orizovo, Orizovo – Mihaylovo, Yambol – Zimnitza and the Plovdiv station will be rehabilitated and the Plovdiv station will be prepared for its transformation into a railway junction. The beginning of all these activities will be launched in the last four months of 2015 and with the intention to have them completed four years later.
Another major project will be the completion of the modernization of the railway line Sofia – Plovdiv, which began on February 20, with the first sod being turned on the railway section Septemvri – Pazardzhik. As regards the construction of the stretch from Sofia to Septemvri, it will also be started at the end of 2015 and is expected to close in the last months of 2020.