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A New Transport Plan for France

A new transport plan for France gives overwhelming priority to development of the rail network.

The new Schéma National des Infrastructures de Transports (SNIT) proposes €170 billion of expenditure over the next 30 years.

In the plan announced by Jean Louis Borloo, the Minister of the Environment, only 4.5% of this expenditure is to go on the major road network.

Nearly 52% of the budget is earmarked for rail development, 32% for urban transport services (metro, tramways, bus services), and 9% for canal and river transport.

The plan has four main objectives :

  1. i. Optimise the existing transport system to limit the creation of new infrastrucutures.
  2. ii. Improve the performance of transport systems in those areas poorly served by public transport.
  3. iii. Improve the environmental performance of transport systems.
  4. iv. Reduce the environmental footprint of the transport infrastructure.

As previously announced, the government retains a commitment to the development of the TGV high speed rail service, with an additional 2,300 kilometres of high speed lines planned before 2020, at a cost of €65 billion.

The major waterways scheme is the Seine-Nord Canal, a project that involves constructing a new, 106 km long canal between Compiègne and Aubencheul-au-Bac (west of Cambrai). By linking up with existing waterways systems, there will then be a canal link that enables the transportation of goods between France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

However, it remains to be seen just how much of the transport plan is real, or just good intentions, for the report is silent on just how it will all be financed.

The level of the contribution of central government is left unstated, and local authorities and transport operators fear that they will be asked to shoulder more of the cost burden than they can reasonably afford.

The plan will be submitted to the French parliament in autumn, where there will no doubt be vigorous debate about some long outstanding and controversial projects that have been dropped.

The following two tables show separately the proposals for the rail and road networks.

Rail Plan

Road Plan

Related Reading

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 30/07/2010

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