Polish election to delay A1 and A2

A decision on Poland’s A1 and A2 highway PPPs is set for further delays following the government’s re-election.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk was re-elected in Poland in a strong showing, but the weak vote total polled by current Minister for Infrastructure Cezary Grabarczyk has led to widespread expectation he will be ousted.

However, he will remain in office until at least the end of the year, and his apparent lame-duck status means that there is little expectation of new announcements on national PPPs until 2012.

Furthermore, the prime minister has announced a plan to split the current Ministry of Infrastructure into a Ministry of Transport, focused on rail, and a Ministry of Digitisation, meaning that the General Directorate of National Roads and Motorways would take lead responsibility for motorway projects.

A 140km section of the A1 motorway in Tuszyn-Pyrzowice, southern Poland, is waiting to be re-tendered following the termination of the concession agreement with Cintra last year.

The €2bn toll road is on the government’s official list of PPPs but will only proceed if it receives off-balance sheet treatment, said lawyer Peter Swiecicki at Squire Sanders in Warsaw. Poland's biggest transport PPP has been held up in a dispute over whether the project will count towards public sector debt.

Further progress on the 164km section of the A2 motorway from Warsaw east to the Belarussian border, although a "less critical" piece of infrastructure, may also be delivered in the new year when the cabinet reshuffle is expected.