On October 12, in cooperation with UNIFE and Eurocities, the Long-term investment Intergroup held a lunch-debate on the financing of urban transport infrastructures.
MEP Dominique Riquet, Chair of the LTI Intergroup, welcomed the participants to the lunch-debate, saying that events of this kind are important to bring together different types of actors, as a way to bridge investment gaps, given that local authorities have huge role to play in funding, and that project promoters lack necessary information on EFSI.
Philippe Citroen, Director General of UNIFE, stressed on the importance of ESI Funds in contributing to the implementation of projects in cities investing in urban rail networks. Thanks to this, a lot of cities in Central and Eastern European countries have been able to invest in urban rail projects. Nevertheless, improvements are needed with EFSI, given that the we have experienced a very gradual take-off, with some urban rail projects in the waiting list for the signoff of the EIB Board of Directors.
Ana Lisa Boni, Secretary General of EUROCITIES, mentioned the importance of rail infrastructure in contributing to the shift towards more sustainable mobility. She underlined the importance for cities to easily access funding for investing in different sectors, as the most pressing challenges of our society have a stronger impact in cities. For this reason, investment in cities will contribute to make Europe a more liveable place.
Aleksandra Oleynik, Coordinator of the activities of the City of Łódź in international organisations, presented a city case on how investing in urban rail helped to reduce traffic congestion and improve living conditions within the city. She presented two EU-funded urban rail projects: a new underground railway station and the tramway infrastructure modernisation.
Mark Sontag, Executive Director of Mobility Finance at Siemens Financial Services, stressed that digitisation has helped to reduce congestion through apps, C-ITS, etc. He said that grant funding must remain high for what concerns mobility, and therefore EFSI can’t totally replace these mechanisms.
Pierre Aubouin, Head of the Infrastructure & Transportation Department at Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, emphasised how the involvement of private investors could generate impetus for a greater use of EFSI for urban rail projects, and suggested to local authorities more openness regarding new financing schemes, in order to easily access EFSI funds. He also affirmed that investing in urban rail can help avoiding the spread of too many shared mobility platforms (like UBER).
MEP Novakov moderated the debate, and recalled the 750 billion Euros needed complete the TEN-T network, specifying that every billion Euros invested in the TEN-T network provides 10.000 jobs, thus TEN-T network’s enhancement is fundamental to boost clean transport and jobs. He also reiterated the TRAN Committee’s commitment for a fairer share of EU budget allocated to transport in the post-2020 programming period.