LJUBLJANA, March 30 Slovenia plans to invest
about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) on a new railway line
between its sole port, Luka Koper, and the city of
Divaca, which will connect with the line that runs to the
The government expects to cover about a quarter of the cost
with European Union funds, while about 350 million euros will be
raised via new debt, Infrastructure Minister Peter Gaspersic
told a news conference on Thursday.
Slovenia hopes some of the investment will also be covered
by countries that use the port for imports and exports. These
include Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and
So far, only Hungary had said it is ready to invest in the
project, the government said, without giving details.
"The project will benefit not only the Slovenian economy,
but also economies of other countries (Austria, Hungary, the
Czech Republic, Slovakia) which are connected to the port of
Koper and account for 70 percent of its cargo traffic," the
government said in a statement.
It added the project would reduce the length of travel by
about 17 kilometers and the time of travel by about half an
hour, while also enabling trains to run faster. About 75 percent
of the 27-kilometre track will run underground.
It will be one of the biggest state investments in the
coming years. It is not yet clear when it could be completed.
The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday public and
private investments were likely to boost Slovenia's GDP this
year and the next, forecasting the economy would expand by 3
percent in 2017 and 2.3 percent in 2018.
($1 = 0.9324 euros)
(Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Mark Potter)