FIEC fears transport target will be missed

By Sandy Guthrie17 March 2011

Unless generated funds are earmarked for sustainable transport, the Eurovignette (road tax) will "miss its target again" according to FIEC, the European Construction Industry Federation.

On the eve of the publication of the White Paper on future EU transport policy, which will address the issue of internalising external costs in all modes of transport, FIEC is advocating an ambitious position on the Eurovignette III Directive.

It said it welcomed the approach proposed by MEP Said El Khadraoui for the second reading of the Directive.

He proposed that Member States earmark at least 15% of the revenues generated by the external cost charge and the infrastructure charge to support TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) projects financially, in order to increase transport sustainability.

Jacques Huillard, FIEC vice-president in charge of transport matters, said, "Indeed, without mandatory earmarking for the development of sustainable transport infrastructure, this new version of the Eurovignette Directive will - again - miss its target."

He said the internalisation of external costs should not be an end in itself, but should be aimed at supporting the development of efficient and sustainable infrastructure, and reducing the external costs of road transport.

"In the context of the economic and financial crises, and considering the difficulty in financing certain transport infrastructure projects," he said, "the internalisation of external costs would also represent a complementary resource for financing sustainable transport projects.

"At a time where the discussions on the EU budget for the next programming period post-2013 are on-going, this crucial aspect should not be forgotten."

The question of transparency and accountability was important in this matter, said Huillard. "For this reason, FIEC is of the opinion that Member States who decide to charge should be required to prove that the increase in revenues leads to a parallel increase in infrastructure investment.

"Such a measure would indeed be a very positive message towards - and increase the acceptance of - users of such infrastructure who are targeted by the Directive."

FIEC is calling on the European Parliament to take these considerations into account when drawing up its position in second reading and negotiating with the Council, in order to ensure that additional road charges contribute to the development of the sustainable transport infrastructure that Europe needs.

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