According to UITP’s 2023 study on EU investments in the local public transport sector: Insights from the 2014-2020 financial programming (report available to UITP members only – EU officials may request a copy at [email protected]), Connecting Europe Facility-Transport contributed merely €330 million of co-financing for local public transport projects under the Urban Nodes Priority. This support was good for just about 1.4% of the whole CEF-Transport programme 2014-2020 (€23.7bn). Yet again, collective local transport was overshadowed by a far larger financing to road and long-distance rail infrastructures, both contributing in no meaningful way to sustainable commuting patterns of daily passenger mobility.
With those meagre results on the record, UITP calls on the European Commission to increase the funding envelope for local public transport and the urban nodes – including multimodal mobility hubs infrastructure – in the 2023-2027 CEF-Transport Work Programme. This enhanced envelope should be channelled to concrete investment actions that will speed up green and digital transitions of the sector, additionally strengthening functional interlinks between CEF’s transport and energy components in a more effective way. This financing need is particularly valid for urban rail which plays a critical role in raising the attractiveness of the whole TEN-T rail network, while substantially cutting back the carbon footprint of the segment of travel that undisputedly dominates the whole European railway market by passenger trips – namely the local and regional commuting. The further development of numerous metro and tramway networks across Europe is, moreover, existentially linked with the performance of local economies, providing zero-emission mobility opportunities for millions of urban employees.
Moreover, accessible, efficient and affordable local public transport is, and will remain the key element of the implementation of the SUMPs objectives across all 424 urban nodes. That is why a strong financial support to the backbone-role of local public transport, urban rail and active modes in urban nodes is a prerequisite for efficient and seamless transportation flows.
Strong financing is also critical for ensuring the resilience function of the whole collective transportation networks and infrastructures at the urban level. UITP recalls a fundamental and unique position that local public transport had in keeping cities moving during successive COVID lockdowns, while ensuring smooth mobility for all essential workers.
Finally, with its focus on cross-border projects and actions aiming at removing bottlenecks and bridging missing links in various sections of the TEN-T corridors, CEF-Transport may significantly contribute to economic, social, and territorial cohesion of local cross-border populations. For the 2023-2027 Work Programme, UITP therefore reiterates not only on reinforcing funds for local cross-border passenger transport (road and rail), but also on enhancing the existing synergies between the projects supported by both CEF grants and the ESIF regional support.