Re: Ministry justifies costs, Volume 10, Number 47, December 6-12
Mr. Šarluška's (spokesman for the Transportation Ministry) explanation looks fairly convincing except that Slovakia doesn't necessarily need to build all its motorways in mountainous terrain. The much-derided southern route or even the little considered "middle way" (Nitra - Zvolen - Donovaly - Poprad - Prešov) could have linked Bratislava and the east at a lower cost than the "sci-fi tunnel fantasy" between Žilina and Ružomberok (I don't know if wonders of man's ingenuity like the perpetually flooded Dubna Skala tunnel are included in this estimate).
Establishing the motorway corporation is a super idea. A few years ago the government wound up with a load of Mečiar-era state funds because they made the budget less transparent and less controllable. However, it seems that setting up a "corporation" is quite another kettle of fish. That will unaccountably borrow money for mad projects on the open market without any control by parliament, and then the government will be able to bundle up its loan repayments in the state budget and no one will be any the wiser. Just poorer.
Slovakia needs infrastructure like a body needs clean arteries, but building them in this way "at any cost" is going to hurt in the next few years.
13. Dec 2004 at 0:00