Next year, only two regional roads will be eligible for repairs from the budget funds, but the Ministry of Transport is looking for opportunities to attract EU funds, Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) told Latvian Radio October 28.
According to Linkaits, next year’s budget is the budget for people, not steel and concrete, next year the medical and teacher wage issue is resolved, other social needs, and “we have donated 50 million” from the transport sector.
It is a matter of political strategy, Linkaits said, adding that he hopes to negotiate a deal with the Ministry of Finance to raise funds from the European Union, but at the moment “this situation is very fragile and uncertain.”
“Next year, the only new roads we can repair with these funds will be two local roads, one in Madona, the other by Talsi, and it will be five million that we will be able to donate to capital investments in the road sector, and that fall has in principle not happened any year since independence was restored,” Linkaits said.
There is no clarity on the possibility of compensating this fall with EU funds, “lottery tickets have been given to us instead of cash”, because EU funds also have conditions, money must be invested to achieve climate neutrality objectives, not infrastructure, the Minister said.
Linkaits said he thinks it will be possible to find money in the end, but
“we create problems for ourselves and then try to solve them”.
“As usual in Latvia, solutions will be found at the last moment, the situation is the same every year,” the Minister said. “I’m doing everything for road workers to have a job next year,” he added.