Fleet News

Roads lost out on funding to rail and waterways

The European Commission has announced that the bulk of the E5.1 billion available under the Trans-European Networks (TENs) budget will not be spent on roads, despite there being a pressing need.

The money will instead be spent on on inland waterways and railways between now and 2013. European Union transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said inland waterways would receive “maximum possible funding”, although this only actually amounts to 11.5% of the total budget, while railways will get 74.2% of total funds.

Roads will get just 2.7%.

Road projects that will get a share include E351 million for Fehmarn Belt fixed rail/road link, in Denmark and E80 million on improvements to roads linking Ireland and Britain with – ultimately – Belarus.

But it is Europe’s rail and river networks that are the real winners. Examples of beneficiaries are the high-speed rail line between Lisbon and Madrid; improvements on the Rhine, Meuse, Main and Danube rivers; the Brenner and Mont Cenis transalpine rail crossings; and the Seine-Scheldt inland waterway link.

Stressing the environmental value of supporting rail and waterways over roads, Barrot said the projects “will generate high added value for the EU and enhance the sustainability of transport in Europe”.

The plans will be assessed by the EU’s TEN financing committee and the European Parliament ahead of a final decision by the commission early next year.

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