Railway corridors III and IV should have been opened in 2010 but in fact, they won’t be finished by 2021
PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 15/14 – March 7, 2016
The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) performed an audit of funds used for modernisation of railway corridors III and IV, which aimed at shortening the travel times and improving speeds of train services. Modernisation costs of the Railway Corridor III were CZK 176 million per one kilometre and CZK 203 million with Railway Corridor IV. The SAO concluded that in spite of the previously introduced corrective measurements, the modernisation processes take too much time; the same was the conclusion of a similar audit performed in 2009. The Government approved the modernisation projects in 2001 and 2002 with planned completion in 2010. However, it won’t be finished by 2021 according to an up-date estimate, so the modernisation process will take 18 years. Moreover, construction works at several sections remain unresolved.
In 2004, the SAO warned of the risks related to the funding scheme, which had been elaborated by the Ministry of Transport. The lack of money made the Ministry to postpone the completion term for six years until 2016, but the delay continued. Only 71 % of the Railway Corridor III, which is 329.4 km long, was finished by June 2015. So far, preparation and implementation costs have amounted to CZK 41,600 million. The Railway Corridor IV, which is 179.9 km long, has only been modernised by 59 % and its preparation and implementation costs have amounted to CZK 23,100 million.
In 2015, the Ministry of Transport successfully reduced the assumed costs by CZK 23,200 million as compared to 2005 plans. The decrease resulted from removing two rather costly sections from the projects. The modernisation process is mostly funded from the Operational Programme Transport. The Ministry expected to utilise CZK 55,500 million from EU funds in total.
With audited projects, building costs per one kilometre varied from CZK 117 million to CZK 352 million and were up to 156 % higher than the maximum price specification, which serves for the measurement of costs during the preparation phase. Before 2015, the Railway Infrastructure Administration (RIA) did not refer to this price specification or use any other tool to check whether the assumed prices were justified or not. But already in the past, the RIA was able to cut prices thanks to requesting justifiable costs and developing new technical solutions. For example, an innovative technical solution of the modernisation project regarding the line from Tábor to Sudoměřice (in Southern Bohemia) helped to cut the assumed prices by CZK 1,100 million in 2010.
The biggest delay is related to preparations phases. On average, 6 years passed between the elaboration of project documentations and obtaining building permits. The period was much longer with 12 out of 37 projects, sometimes it was more than 10 years. Preparations were troubled when lands had to be bought out and there were problems with obtaining site and building permits. The periods were also prolonged by changes to conceptions and by the fact that the Railway Infrastructure Administration re-designed technical details of some constructions.
Supreme Audit Office