Kosovo also planning to introduce tolls on highway to Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 18, 2018 11:00

Kosovo also planning to introduce tolls on highway to Albania

TIRANA, Sept. 18 – Kosovo authorities say they are planning to introduce tolls on their part of the Highway of Nation linking Kosovo to Albania but fees will not be applied without a thorough study setting reasonable and acceptable tariffs.

A Kosovo deputy minister says Kosovo will initiate a feasibility study on applying tolls next year on the highways linking Kosovo to Albania and Macedonia but the implementation of the tolling system is not going to happen before 2020.

“In 2019, we will initiate a feasibility study and wait for one or two years to get ready, get opinions, engage in discussions with citizens and NGOs and impose a tax which will be much lower than the [Albanian] Highway of Nation,” Rexhep Kadriu, a Kosovo deputy infrastructure minister has told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in the local Albanian service.

According to him, introducing tolls on the Kosovo highways will be much easier compared to Albania as Kosovo already has parallel roads in good condition as alternatives to the highways to Albania and Macedonia, the latter set to complete by the end of this year.

The alternative road to the Highway of Nation linking Kosovo and the northeastern Albanian town of Kukes to Tirana is a mountain route in poor condition that takes about six hours, three time more compared to the Durres-Kukes-Morine segment launched in 2009.

Tolls on both sides of the highway could significantly increase costs for visitors and businesses, especially Kosovars, the highway’s more frequent users.

Albania already started applying average €5 tolls for drivers crossing the Highway of Nation this week, in a process that resumed smoothly following a five-month suspension triggered by violent protests leading to revised fees for local residents and frequent users.

Kosovo completed its 100 km Prishtina-Morine segment linking Kosovo to Albania in 2013, significantly easing human and trade exchanges on both sides of the two neighbouring Albanian-speaking countries.

Both segments of the Highway were built by the Bechtel-Enka American-Turkish consortium and are estimated to have cost Albanian and Kosovo taxpayers around 2 billion euros, a staggering amount for the modest budgets of the two governments.

Despite the huge positive effects it has had during the past decade, economists say the highway has yet to justify its huge construction costs considering the still modest Albania-Kosovo trade exchanges often hampered by trade disputes.

Serbia’s plans to build a Nis-Merdare-Prishtina highway linking southeast Serbia to the Kosovo capital city could give a huge boost to Albania’s part of the highway and the EU aspirant region as a whole.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 18, 2018 11:00