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July 14, 2010

Rail is top priority in French transport plan

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THE French government expects to complete by the end of the year its new National Transport Infrastructure Plan (Snit) which envisages an investment of Euros 170 billion over the next 20 to 30 years of which almost 52% will be for rail. Snit forms part of the so-called Grenelle Environment initiative and seeks to transfer 10 billion tonne-km of freight from road to rail by 2030, 2.5 billion passenger-km from road to rail, and 2 billion passenger-km from air to rail. This should reduce CO2 emissions by 2 million tonnes per year.
Snit has four key objectives:
• to optimise existing networks to limit the construction of new infrastructure
• to improve the performance of the transport system
• to improve energy efficiency, and
• to reduce transport's environmental impact.
As far as rail is concerned, Snit aims to provide France with a high-quality network for both freight and passengers. About 4000km of new lines are proposed, which includes the four new already-approved high-speed lines totalling 699km. Snit also envisages investment in urban transport systems with dedicated rights-of-way.

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