June 29, 2015

EC identifies rail investment priorities

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The new line from Lyon to Turin looks set to be a major beneficiary of the CEF The new line from Lyon to Turin looks set to be a major beneficiary of the CEF

THE European Commission (EC) revealed its rail investment priorities for the next five years on June 29, when transport commissioner Mrs Violeta Bulc unveiled a shortlist of 276 transport projects which are being put forward to share €13.1bn in funding from the European Union's (EU) Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The EC says it has received more than 700 applications from member states requesting a total of €36bn in funding for transport projects since the CEF was launched last September. The EU's contribution to selected projects will range from 20% to 85%, with nearly €4.8bn allocated to member states eligible for cohesion funding.

 The EC says the investment will unlock additional public and private co-financing which will increase the total value to €28.8bn.

The list largely focuses on enhancements to the core trans-European network and includes flagship projects including Rail Baltica, the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, Lyon - Turin, Austria's Brenner Base Tunnel, and Spain's Mediterranean Corridor upgrade, as well as a range of smaller-scale initiatives including studies on the reopening of the Iron Rhine, upgrading of the cross-border link between Groningen and Bremen, and capacity enhancements on the Kiruna - Narvik line in northern Sweden.

The funding proposals put forward by the EU must now be formally adopted by the CEF committee, which will meet on July 10. Individual grant agreements will then be prepared by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency and signed with the project beneficiaries before the end of the year.

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