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Fico still committed to highway construction target

Prime Minister Robert Fico is still standing by his commitment to connect Bratislava and Košice by a highway by 2010.

Prime Minister Robert Fico is still standing by his commitment to connect Bratislava and Košice by a highway by 2010.

"We still want to join Bratislava and Kosice through a highway without tunnels by 2010. We want it, why should we not? This ambitious plan remains in the game, provided that we successfully implement PPP projects," the prime minister told a press conference on October 29 following the cabinet session, the SITA newswire reported.

A failure of public-private partnership projects owing to the global financial crisis is the only factor that could slow the plan for highway and dual-carriageway construction. The prime minister declared that the Transport Ministry was ready.

He said that the government would commence construction of highways and dual-carriageways through the PPP projects even if these became overpriced due to the financial crisis. He added that he is not concerned about this risk. He did express concern that banks will be unwilling to participate in these projects at all, which would pose a bigger problem. Fico could not specify the limit on possible overpricing that would still be bearable for the government.

Fico admitted that the funding of PPP projects could be realised through money accumulated in pension funds. He added that the cabinet would debate this option with pension fund management companies. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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