European Transport Commissioner-Designate Hearing
Adina-Ioana Valean, the European Transport Commissioner-Designate, had her hearing in front of MEPs on 14 November.
The European Commission has made 1.4 billion euros (1.55 billion USD) of funding available through its Connecting Europe Facility to support transport projects throughout the EU. It says this investment will help build missing connections in Europe, with a focus on sustainable transport options.
50 million euros is set aside for the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System.
The funding is broken down into two envelopes: the General envelope and the Cohesion envelope. The funds reserved for the Cohesion envelope will be accessible to those 15 Member States that are eligible. The eligibility criterion is for the Gross National Income per capita to be less than 90 percent of the EU average. For the 2014–2020 funding period this applies to: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
According to EU documents, the pre-identified transport projects eligible for funding include those that are cross-border projects, those that are aiming to get rid of bottlenecks, interconnections between rail and other modes, and connecting freight terminals to the Core Network.
Other areas of interest include high-speed and conventional railways, including sidings, tunnels and bridges; new high-speed lines to be equipped for speeds in excess of 250km/h; the associated equipment such as electrification systems, equipment for boarding and alighting, and automatic gauge-changing facilities. Further, the full electrification of line tracks and the standard gauge to be the nominal track gauge for new railway lines.
Of the EU’s 30 priority projects, 18 are for rail and 3 are mixed rail-road projects.
Funding will be made available to works that are related to the development of prototypes for the retrofit or upgrade of vehicles with ERTMS on-board equipment. These works much be compliant with Commission Regulation 2016/919 or amended subsequent versions and be Baseline 3 compliant.
The Connecting Europe Facility is the EU’s main funding tool for infrastructure and transport networks. It was established in 2014 and since then has contributed to 763 projects with almost 22 billion euros (24 billion USD). Of the CEF grand budget of 23.4 billion euros for the funding period 2014–2020, 11.3 billion euros have been set aside for Member States eligible to access the Cohesion Fund.
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