€2 billion boost for key transport projects across European Union

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 23 July 2020

The European Union (EU) is supporting the economic recovery in its Member States by injecting almost €2.2 billion into 140 key transport projects.

These projects will help build missing transport links across the continent, support sustainable transport and create jobs. They will receive funding through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's grant scheme supporting transport infrastructure.  A strong emphasis is put on projects reinforcing railways, including cross-border links and connections to ports and airports. Inland waterway transport is boosted through more capacity and better multimodal connections to the road and rail networks. In the maritime sector, priority is given to short-sea-shipping projects based on alternative fuels and the installation of on-shore power supply for ports to cut emissions from docked ships. EU Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Vălean said: “The €2.2 billion EU contribution to this crucial transport infrastructure will help kick-start the recovery, and we expect it to generate €5 billion in investments.

"The type of projects we invest in ranges from inland waterways transport to multimodal connections, alternative fuels to massive railroad infrastructure. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is one of our key instruments in creating a crisis-proof and resilient transport system - vital now and in the long run.” Her comments were echoed by the Director of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), Dirk Beckers, who said: “Thanks to a scrupulous management of the CEF Transport Programme by INEA we were able to optimise the administration of EU funds and inject over two billion Euro into the real economy via this call for proposals.

"EU support comes at a key moment for many of the selected projects as the economies of virtually all EU Member States are hit hard by the COVID-19 induced economic slowdown.” The EU will support rail infrastructure projects located on the Trans-European transport (TEN-T) core network with a total of €1.6 billion (55 projects). This includes the Rail Baltica project, which integrates the Baltic States in the European rail network, as well as the cross-border section of the railway line between Dresden (Germany) and Prague (Czechia).

It will also support the shift to greener fuels for transport (19 projects) with almost €142 million. A number of projects involve converting vessels so they may run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as well as installing corresponding infrastructure in ports.  Road transport will also see the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, namely through the installation of 17,275 charging points on the road network and the deployment of 355 new buses.  Nine projects will contribute to the seamless operation of trains across Europe through the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). Upgrading locomotives and railway track to the unified European train control system will boost safety, decrease travel times and optimise track usage. The nine projects will receive over €49.8 million. Ten out of the 140 projects are among the first to be selected under the new and innovative Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport Blending Facility rolling call, a specifically devised instrument to blend private funding with EU support, helping to fund European projects through a mix of private and public investment.

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