On 19 Oct 2011 the European Commission adopted a proposal to transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified transport network (TEN-T) – multimodal transport network, which greatly facilitated the transfer of passengers and freight from road to rail and other modes of transport. The new core network will remove bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU. It will improve connections between different modes of transport and contribute to the EU’s climate change objectives – to reduce by 60% emissions from transport by 2050 (see the white paper published earlier this year).
The new policy follows a two-year consultation process and establishes a core transport network to be established by 2030 to act as the backbone for transportation within the Single Market. The financing proposals for the period 2014-2020 also tightly focus EU transport funding on this core transport network, filling in cross-border missing links, removing bottlenecks and making the network smarter.
The new core TEN-T network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. This will largely be financed by Member States, with some EU transport and regional funding possibilities, including with new innovative financing instruments. The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe’s citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes’ travel time from this comprehensive network.
Taken as a whole, the new transport network will deliver:

  • safer and less congested travel
  • as well as smoother and quicker journeys.

The TEN-T network consists of two layers: a core network to be completed by 2030 and a comprehensive network feeding into this, to be completed by 2050. Both layers include all transport modes: road, rail, air, inland waterways and maritime transport, as well as intermodal platforms. Ten corridors will provide the basis for the co-ordinated development of infrastructure within the core network. Covering at least 3 modes, 3 Member States and 2 cross-border sections, these corridors will bring together the Member States concerned, as well as the relevant stakeholders and users. European co-ordinators will chair “corridor platforms” that will bring together all the stakeholders – these will be a major instrument to guarantee co-ordination, co-operation and transparency.
The new core network will connect:

  • 83 main European ports with rail and road links
  • 37 key airports with rail connections into major cities
  • 15,000 km of railway line upgraded to high speed
  • 35 cross border projects to reduce bottlenecks

Transport infrastructure requires a huge investment – and the large share will always come from Member States. Europe’s role in terms of investment and co-ordination is to add value by removing difficult bottlenecks and building missing links and connections, and to support the creation of a real European transport network.
The Connecting Europe Facility makes available for transport infrastructure 31.7 billion euros for the next financial period 2012–2020. The normal co-financing rates for TEN-T projects on the core network will be:

  • Up to 50% EU co-financing for studies
  • For works up to 20%
  • Up to 40% for cross-border projects for rail and inland waterway connections and
  • For certain ITS projects, like ERTMS, higher co-financing of up to 50% can be made available to support Member States making the transition.

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