The future of a major road project in Romania is in doubt, as the government has told the US construction firm Bechtel that it will slash the amount of money available to build it.
Work has stopped on the Transylvania Motorway and the contractor has said if it does not get the money it will pull out of the project in weeks and move all its equipment overseas.
The 400 kilometre four-lane highway is planned to connect central Romania with the Hungarian border. It is supposed to be finished in 2012.
However the government’s priority is another motorway being built with EU money to link Bucharest with the Hungarian capital. The Romanian government has said it is not concerned about the duplication of routes, but does want to renegotiate the Bechtel contract because it was handed out by the previous administration without being put out to public tender, with competing bids.
Romania’s Prime Minister has said the price for this and other major construction projects in Romania is too high, but he has stopped short of accusing any of the companies involved of corruption.