ECONOMY

Highway funds start flowing

The distribution of hundreds of millions of euros among the four consortiums that will restart works on major highways across the country started on Monday as the European Commission approved the four agreements and the Infrastructures Ministry gave the green light for the disbursement of over 776 million euros from national and European Union resources.

“These projects and their abrupt interruption were visible casualties of the crisis in Greece,” European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn stated on Monday in Brussels.

“Their resumption and the fact that the European Commission and several European companies are again prepared to invest in them is a sign of growing confidence in Greece’s recovery.”

The commissioner added that the European Union is supporting the projects with 2.97 billion euros in total (including the original and additional funding contribution plus certain selected expenditure). The construction phase will entail the creation of 6,000 jobs. Delivery is planned for end-2015.

The 776.6 million euros will be distributed as follows to the four consortiums: The Aegean Highway will get 248 million euros for the Maliakos-Kleidi section along the Athens-Thessaloniki national road; Nea Odos will receive 178.5 million euros for projects on the Ionian Highway in Western Greece and on the Athens-Thessaloniki road; Kentriki Odos will collect 175.3 million euros for the highway linking Xyniada with Trikala in central Greece; and Olympia Odos will take 174.8 million euros for the Athens-Patra national highway.

“These projects will improve the competitiveness of the regions they pass through, making them more attractive to investors; but as well as creating the right conditions for growth and jobs, they also improve the quality of life for citizens,” Hahn stated.