According to the Regional Development Ministry, the A1 highway connecting Toruń and Stryków near Łódz should have been constructed within the 2008-2010 period. “Should have been” are the key words here as construction work is yet to begin – tenders are still in progress. Chances are that the highway for which nearly PLN 2.2 billion of EU funds has been allocated will be completed by the end of 2012. Unfortunately this is just one of the many examples of road projects throughout Poland plagued by severe delays. Between 2007-2013 the EU budget for Poland, EUR 28 billion, was earmarked for the modernisation of roads, railroad lines and energy networks.
This was undoubtedly a huge figure, equal to the total subsidy amount for Italy. Approximately EUR 10 billion is to be used to pay the construction costs of new highways, expressways and ring roads. It is already clear that the EU funds are not being allocated appropriately. Huge amounts are due to be lost unless agreements related to investments that are to be carried out within the next two years are concluded in a timely manner. The delay period of several road projects already exceeds 6 months, many a few years. Some of those future investments with delayed completion deadlines will no longer be covered by EU’s 2007-2013 budget therefore new negotiations will be necessary. Why is the Regional Development Ministry issuing lists of investments with unrealistic deadlines? Are huge funds that could in theory be used immediately for emergency-type purposes such as anti-flood projects being blocked by road investments that cannot be carried out in time? Adam Zdziebło, the regional development deputy minister was not available to answer these and other questions.