Joszef Ribányi (EPP/HU), Vice-Chair of the CoR’s COTER commission and rapporteur on ‘Road Safety and Automated mobility’, co-chaired today’s annual joint workshop of the European Parliament’s TRAN committee and of the COTER commission, devoted to “Financing clean and sustainable transport: The role of cities and regions”. This occasion marks the third year in which these two bodies meet to reflect upon the legislative work in the field of transport and mobility.
Ribanyi opened the meeting:
“Transport is often a competence of local and regional authorities. They are in charge of designing and implementing mobility policies and providing efficient and sustainable transport solutions in their territory for their citizens and businesses. Transport infrastructure and mobility are thus key enablers of territorial and social cohesion.”
While maintaining mobility and transport infrastructures is already costly for regional authorities, the need to move towards zero- or low-emission transport systems creates additional pressure. This transformation will be costly and a major part will be for the cities and regions to finance, for instance by renewing their public transport fleet or by deploying alternative fuels infrastructures.
The members of the CoR’s COTER commission and the EP’s TRAN committee discussed the question of financing this transformation. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) could provide financing or at least be a stimulus for initial funding of this transition. Also synergies with other sources of funding – be it public or private – must be further explored.
Marian-Jean Marinescu (RO/EPP), European Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the Connecting Europe facility 2021–2027 said:
“CEF should be used primarily to complete the TEN-T corridors by providing financing for cross-border connections and missing links. In addition, synergies between different EU funding instruments, such as Cohesion and Regional Development Fund as well as InvestEU, should be explored.”
Investment decisions need to be taken in revenue-generating areas as the quality of road infrastructure is on average declining . Road tolls and external cost charges collected in one region need, in principle, to be reinvested in the transport infrastructure of the region in close co-operation with the competent local and regional authorities.
In this respect, Ivan Žagar (EPP/SL), CoR rapporteur on ‘Europe on the Move: promoting seamless mobility solutions’, stated:
“Road tolls which have been collected for a well-justified reason and which aim to internalise the external costs of transport must remain in the region and must be used to address the problem in the region.”