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Minister warns of budget shortfall from highway toll collection delay

If the electronic highway toll collection system is put into operation in Slovakia a year later than originally scheduled (in 2009), the subsequent budget shortfall might reach approximately Sk4 billion - Sk4.5 billion ((€132.78 million - €149.37 million).

If the electronic highway toll collection system is put into operation in Slovakia a year later than originally scheduled (in 2009), the subsequent budget shortfall might reach approximately Sk4 billion - Sk4.5 billion ((€132.78 million - €149.37 million).

If its operation is delayed by nine months, losses from uncollected tolls would exceed Sk3 billion (€99.58 million). A six-month delay would incur losses of around Sk2.5 billion (€82.98 million), Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny said, following cabinet session.

The tender to choose a supplier for the toll collection system is still pending. The procurer, the National Highway Company (NDS), cannot announce the tender outcome and conclude a contract with the selected bidder because of new objections by expelled bidders and the lawsuits they have filed. A start date for toll collection can only be announced once a contract with the operator of the system is signed.

The minister criticised shortcomings in Slovakia's public procurement law, which he said had led to the tender being dragged out. After parliament again failed to approve a new Traffic Code, vetoed by the president, the minister proposed to wait for two weeks to see whether the bill would not be resubmitted for approval.

The new Traffic Code included one-off measures to accelerate highway and dual carriageway construction in Slovakia. These measures were intended to enable the state to build on plots whose ownership had not been settled. If the bill is not submitted again, Vážny said he is prepared to draft his own amendment to the law on one-off extraordinary measures applying to some highway and dual carriageway construction projects. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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