ZAGREB, May 19 (Hina) – Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic on Tuesday announced that the government would most probably adopt a decision this week to merge two state-run motorway operators while the bridge toll on the Krk Bridge would be abolished as of June 15.
Butkovic told reporters in Rijeka that the government would probably decide on Thursday on the merger of the Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) and Autocesta Rijeka-Zagreb (ARZ) state-run motorway operators.
“This is the continuation of the restructuring of the road sector because at the start of our term after we decided against the monetisation and sale of the motorways, we embarked on restructuring the sector. We have adopted a set of measures, one of which is to merge these two companies which was not possible immediately, seeing that international creditors are involved,” said Butkovic and added that the total debt of the road sector is about five billion euro.
Butkovic explained that some creditors were opposed to the merger and negotiations lasted for quite a while. Now that conditions have been created with the assistance of the Finance Ministry, the decision on the merger can be made.
“That means one management, one public procurement, and business rationalisation, which is something truly good,” said Butkovic.
Butkovic explained that the state had set aside about HRK 27 million a year for all physical and legal persons living or registered on the island of Krk, as well as on the islands of Cres, Losinj and Rab which are connected to Krk island by ferry, and who were exempt from paying the bridge toll.
Now no one will have to pay the bridge toll, he said, adding that the toll will be abolished as of June 15.
He said that the decision was not connected to the coming parliamentary election.
When asked when exactly the toll would be abolished, Butkovic said that that depends on the merger of the two road companies, namely when ARZ’s concession expires, but that it is most likely to happen on June 15.
Commenting on the fact that road tolls on Croatian motorways were down 31% compared to the same period last year and whether that would cause problems for HAC, which has only just come out of financial problems, Butkovic said that he believes that everything will be alright.
“According to weekly reports, HAC is slowly returning to good road toll amounts, so I believe that everything will be alright,” he said.