Slovakia’s transport sector has not suffered from the dramatic reductions in demand and neglect of its infrastructure that have afflicted many of its neighbors. However, current under-maintenance is eating away at the stock of transport infrastructure and is unsustainable in anything more than the very short term. In addition, despite good intentions, progress on commercializing its transport operations has not progressed far enough to put them in a strong position to confront the pressures they will face when Slovakia enters the European Union, hopefully at the beginning of 2004. There is now a short window of opportunity to make good on deferred maintenance, establish a more sustainable maintenance regime and make good on the previous good intentions for commercialization. The opportunity exists also for the institutional structure of the sector to be revised so as to better reflect the interests of transport users, reform the way that infrastructure is financed and to systematically eliminate the remaining regulatory protections given to existing operators. The Strategy presented here shows how these objectives can best be reached, and how the World Bank can help bring them about. If the Strategy is implemented, action will have been taken before there is a problem and order will have been introduced before disorder takes over.
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