IN SHORT BUSINESS

Transport Ministry plans new rail regulator

AN AMENDMENT to the law on railways and to the trade law, which the Slovak cabinet is to soon discuss, should specify new conditions for access to the railway transport infrastructure, the regulation of railway transport, rights and duties of regulated subjects, and the establishment and operation of a new body - the Regulatory Office for Railways.

According to the private news agency SITA, the draft amendment also establishes principles for charging fees for the use of the railway transport infrastructure.

The Transport Ministry will require Sk2.8 billion (€70 million) of the state budget to finance the operation of the railway transport infrastructure in 2005.

It is expected that a balance should thus be established between revenues from the use of the railway transport infrastructure and the profit from other commercial activities, and between state financing on one side, and expenditures on the railway transport infrastructure on the other.

The Regulatory Office for Railways, which should be set up in January 2005, will take over some of the powers currently held by the state railway office and some activities performed by the Transport Ministry, in addition to some new duties. A total cost of Sk102 million (€2.6 million) is expected for the project.

The amendment to the law will be in accordance with EU norms.

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