Supporting regions and cities in preparing the ground for the transport infrastructure of tomorrow was the focus of the joint workshop between the European Parliament's committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) held on 4 December in Brussels.
Ensuring strong funding for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a key investment tool for trans-European transport networks in the next EU budget 2021-2027 was among the shared priorities outlined by COTER and TRAN members at the joint workshop. Members of both committees further emphasised the need to support regions and cities in optimising the use of all financial mechanisms available for transport and innovation in the sector.
"An investment in the transport infrastructure of the future is an investment in a stronger internal market, a more integrated and more equal Union and a greener, cleaner economy for our citizens. We need to draw on all financing sources available under the new EU budget and to facilitate greater synergies between those instruments. The post-2020 Cohesion Fund in particular with its significant allocation to transport reflects the important link between targeted investment in transport infrastructure and the spill-over effects in terms of economic, social and territorial cohesion", said COTER Vice-Chair József Ribányi.
In parallel to the ongoing COP 24 in Katowice and in line with the Union's decarbonisation commitments under the Paris Agreement, participants reiterated their commitment to incentivising the transition to cleaner transport solutions. The discussion put special focus on the opportunities and challenges for cities and regions in the uptake of clean vehicles, the modernisation of infrastructure for alternative fuels and in providing safe spaces for cyclists and pedestrians in towns and cities. Interoperability was mentioned as key factor.
"Only a joined-up approach between the Union's Member States, its cities and regions will help the European Union to deliver on its climate change objectives and influence technological developments on the world stage. Starting with cross-border testing of autonomous vehicles and investment in interoperable infrastructure for alternative fuels, LRAs need to work more closely together to influence the regulatory framework", said Mr Ribányi.
Securing sufficient public- and private-sector funding for the development and implementation of connected and automated transport and ensuring investment in all types of regions were further strategic objectives discussed over the course of the workshop. In the context of the ongoing interinstitutional negotiations on the 2021-2027 MFF and its sectoral proposals, members of both committees emphasised the importance of enabling completion of the TEN-T network under the CEF post-2020 and encouraging cross-border projects by simplifying implementation measures.