Shifting funds from huge infrastructure projects to efficient multimodal nodes - new funding programme (amendment to TEN-T)
The trans-European transport networks are still based in some cases on the pursuit of the wrong priorities; above all, they are hopelessly underfunded.
A new prioritisation of TEN transport projects has to be carried out to put the main emphasis on projects that promote European unification, especially those that serve to provide rail links between the old and new Member States.
For the funding of these projects a European Eco tax based on taxation of kerosene could be introduced. The great bulk of it should be ring fenced for the construction of these transport networks.
New corridors should not be designated without a detailed strategic environmental assessment of every project as prescribed in the Directive on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive). An essential part of this process is the assessment of the climatic effects of each new project. New roads could then be approved only if evidence had been produced to show that there was no alternative, such as the upgrading of a rail link or of an existing road. The same principles should apply to part-funding from EU Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund.
The precept that upgrading existing infrastructure takes precedence over new construction works should apply. Expensive showcase projects that involve large-scale engineering works, such as new tunnels or bridges, must not only be assessed on the basis of construction costs but also on the basis of subsequent maintenance costs. Improvement work on roads and railways has also a far more beneficial effect on jobs, because the contracts are awarded in smaller lots and are generally more labour-intensive. It is estimated, for example, that twenty jobs are safe-guarded by every kilometre of roadway refurbishment, compared with only four jobs per kilometre for the construction of new roads.
The main purpose of railway infrastructure schemes should be to segregate faster and slower traffic and to make sufficient capacity available for freight traffic.
As a new priority project we propose the development throughout Europe of the terminal infrastructure for intermodal logistics solutions (combined transport). On the basis of the axes carrying the highest volumes of combined traffic, support should be given for road/rail trans-shipment facilities in the form of upgraded or new intermodal terminals as part of TEN-T projects; such support should cover up to 50% of the project costs.
One of the prerequisites for support should be the fact that a high percentage of the competitors in the field intend to use the terminal. On the one hand, this is a clear indication of the commercial viability of infrastructure and prevents misallocations of support funds. On the other hand, such a strategy prevents the sort of structural duplication that occurs when each of the national market leaders, the successor companies of the national railways, funds its own exclusive facility at great expense.