OREANDA-NEWS  The authorities approved the construction of the first section of the high-speed highway (HSR) to Nizhny Novgorod-from the suburban town of Zheleznodorozhny to the town of Gorokhovets in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

According to this information, the construction was approved at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov on January 17, the source of the newspaper in the office of the politician confirmed the meeting. According to another interlocutor of the publication, the meeting talked about ensuring the project to the planned operating break-even from the third year of operation.

It was about both the owner of the infrastructure (the concessionaire) and the carrier, which is Russian Railways, and the project should pay off even with a conservative assessment of passenger traffic.

The cost of the project of the first section of the HSR is estimated at 621.55 billion rubles, of which 200 billion rubles should provide the budget, another 200 billion rubles-Railways, the rest of the funds-for the concessionaire, which has not yet been selected. The Railway-Gorokhovets section can become the first stage of construction of the Moscow — Kazan HSR.

The financial model of the project "requires final decisions on the provision of capital grants as early as possible," the newspaper notes, citing materials for the meeting with Akimov. According to the publication, the plus margin for the concessionaire will last until 2025, and the carrier will reach operating break-even in 2026.

"The planned operating breakeven can influence other, not controlled by the concessionaire factors", — stated in the documents related to the proposed financial model may be an increase in capital infrastructure costs by 10% and decreased the forecasted demand by 30%.

According to the forecasts of Russian Railways, about 40% of all passengers between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod will fall on the future of the HSR, told the newspaper in the company. In the third year of operation of the highway passenger traffic between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod will be 3.13 million people a year, and throughout the HSR — 7.7 million passengers a year.

In November, the media reported on the doubts of President Vladimir Putin about the need for the construction of the HSR. According to them, the head of state at the meeting instructed the government to work out the draft of the highway again.

"In the coming years, it is planned to allocate money not only for this project, but also for the reconstruction of the M7 highway and the toll road, which will become part of the transport corridor Europe — Western China," the source said. Later, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov reported that “such megaprojects are subject to very careful reconciliation and coordination”.