Friday, June 23, 2017

Russian Government will not finance high-speed rail links for World Cup

The federal budget for 2013-2015 will not include funds for high-speed rail links as was previously planned for World Cup 2018.

The projects were discussed with Russian Railways, but there are no plans in the budget through 2020. RZD's investment program through that time is set at $186 million with a $60 million deficit, the Moscow News reports.

Under previous plans, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, the cities where World Cup games are to take place in 2018, were supposed to connect. The lines would be built with 70 percent of the budget coming from the state. The cost of the St. Petersburg line was estimated at $35.3 billion with the Yekaterinburg line costing approximately $70 billion. Construction was to start next year.

The high-speed link would have cut an hour off the current Moscow-St. Petersburg trip time of 3.5 hours. The travel time from Moscow to Yekaterinburg would fall from 26 hours to eight.

South Korean Hyundai, German Siemens, French Alstom and Chinese CRCC have all shown interest in the auction for the upcoming construction, according to the Moscow News.

When Vladimir Putin was prime minister, Vladimir Yakunin, the head of RZD, said that the land for the Moscow-St. Petersburg line would have to be purchased this year in order for construction to be completed on time. This would require financing of $126 million of RZD's money, to be compensated by the state at a later time.

Federal officials declined financing for the high-speed-links due to their high cost, the Moscow News reports.