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Wednesday, 02 March 2011

Passengers, polluters will pay for green transport, says EU

The European Commission has drawn up a plan to cut planet-warming transport emissions to "at least 60%" of 1990 levels by 2050, but environmentalists say it lacks urgency – and travellers and transport companies alike will foot the bill. A draft copy of the much-anticipated White Paper on Transport, dated 21 February and obtained by EurActiv, flags several measures to raise the €1.8 trillion which the EU says is needed for infrastructure investment in the next 20 years. Another €500 billion will be needed to complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). These funds should be raised from diversified public and private sources, and wider application of the 'user pays' and 'polluter pays' principles. "Member states need to ensure that sufficient national funding is available in their budgetary planning," the Commission cautions. But centrally, the paper advises the EU and governments to select policy frameworks "relying to the greatest extent possible on market-based mechanisms". Questions about who should pay most for the electrification of private and public transport, high-speed rail networks and greater use of alternative fuels may prove thorny. "Wider socio-economic benefits and positive externalities justify some level of public funding," the document says, "but in the future, transport users are likely to pay for a higher proportion of the costs than today".

Source: Euractiv