Last year banking giants Erste Group from Vienna, together with Deloitte and Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte from Zagreb were awarded the consultancy job by the Croatian government to analyse and formulate a concession plan to attract private companies to manage and operate 1,017 kilometres of Croatia’s motorways, but a number of Croatian unions and association groups have announced they are about to launch a petition for a referendum to put a stop to it.
It was reported earlier that the proposed tender, which will be offered for between 30 and 50 years, would go for between 2.5 and 3 billion euros to a private outfit. The concession will include the sections; Bregana – Zagreb – Lipovac, Zagreb – Split – Ravca, Zagreb – Rijeka, and Zagreb – Gorican.
The total revenue generated from motorways in Croatia last year totaled 2.2 kuna (280 million EUR), 5.6 percent more than the previous year. Croatian motorways made 1.36 billion kuna (170 million EUR) from tolls alone last year, up 6.2% from 2012. The biggest earner was the Rijeka-Zagreb motorway toll, which collected 490.3 million kuna (65 million EUR), up 2.1 percent from the previous year. The biggest jump was on the Zagreb – Macelj section, up 10.3% to 199 million kuna (26 million EUR).
Some fear, as with the now French operated Zagreb international airport, that prices will increase on motorway tolls and the likely foreign private company looks to maximise its profits. Transport and Infrastructure Minister Siniša Hajdaš Dončić says that despite the petition for a referendum against the lease of motorways being a ‘legitimate right of the referendum initiators’, the concession is the only viable option with Croatian Motorways in huge debt.