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EU announces funding for new transport infrastructure projects

More than 100 projects aimed at improving Europe’s transport infrastructure will benefit from more than €320 million of funding, the European Commission has announced.31 Jul 2014

The projects were selected in the latest calls under the Commission’s trans-European transport network (TEN-T) programme.

TEN-T forms part of the EU’s new transport infrastructure policy, introduced at the start of 2014. The programme is intended to provide integrated long-distance high-speed travel throughout Europe via road, rail, inland waterways, airports, seaports, inland ports and traffic management systems. It is part of a wider system of planned trans-European networks including a telecommunications network and a proposed energy network.

The 106 recently selected projects cover sectors including air traffic management, the European rail traffic management system and intelligent transport systems. The programme also encourages projects that decarbonise transport networks and systems.

Commission vice-president and transport commissioner Siim Kallas said: “These key projects with European added value will contribute to delivering a complete transport network supporting seamless mobility of goods and people throughout the EU."

The Commission said the first calls for transport infrastructure proposals to develop the projects will be issued in September 2014 with funding from the EU’s ‘connecting Europe facility’ (CEF).

Under the CEF, a total of €26.25 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in EU countries.

Nine ‘core network corridors’ have been identified under CEF, bringing together public and private investment with EU support to remove bottlenecks, build “missing cross-border connections” across Europe and “promote modal integration and interoperability”.

The Commission has appointed a coordinator for each of the corridors to act on the Commission’s behalf. Coordinators were also appointed for the European rail traffic management system and ‘motorways of the sea’, which is a priority project with the goal of reducing the negative environmental effects of freight transport. The coordinators will be responsible for developing priority transport projects and reporting back to the Commission.

One of the nine corridors is the ‘Rhine-Alpine Corridor’, which the Commission said is one of the busiest freight routes in Europe, connecting the North Sea ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp to the Mediterranean basin in Genoa, via Switzerland and some of the major economic centres in the Rhine-Ruhr, the Rhine-Main-Neckar, regions and the agglomeration of Milan in Northern Italy. The Commission said key projects in the corridor include tunnels from Switzerland that are partially completed and their access routes in Germany and Italy.

The Commission said: “The ultimate objective of infrastructure development along these corridors, and on the core network as a whole, is to complete seamless connections for the sake of efficient, future-oriented and high-quality transport services for citizens and economic operators.”

Infrastructure managers, investors and public and private organisations “seem ready to get more actively involved”, in the development of the corridors, the Commission said. “The objectives are set at EU level, and initiatives of those who may help achieving them are welcome.”