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EU transport committee backs infrastructure network upgrade
EU | Brussels

EU transport committee backs infrastructure network upgrade

13 Apr 2023 · People

IRU welcomes the European Parliament Transport Committee’s (TRAN’s) vote on the revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation. The vote paves the way for trilogue negotiations to begin with the Council and European Commission.

The EU transport committee overwhelmingly voted today in favour of a reinforced TEN-T Regulation. The outcome of the vote strongly signals to EU Member States that the Council’s general approach, adopted in December 2022, was disappointing in its support for the road transport industry.

In accordance with specific EU rules created to expedite the process, a formal vote on the file in the Plenary of the European Parliament will not be required. Trilogue negotiations are expected to begin later this month.

Safe and secure parking areas

TRAN opted for earlier deadlines for the building of safe and secure parking areas on both the core and comprehensive network compared to the Commission’s proposal, as IRU had called for. This is in total contrast with the Council’s approach, which had removed any binding provisions. The deadline proposed by TRAN for the core network is 2030 instead of 2040; and 2040 rather than 2050 for the comprehensive network.

Raluca Marian, IRU’s Director of EU Advocacy, said, “We are happy to see that the transport committee’s desire to improve the conditions of rest areas is fuelled by a sense of urgency. 

“The EU’s road transport sector currently lacks hundreds of thousands of drivers, with two million unfilled driver positions forecasted by 2026 if things don’t change.”

“We should do whatever we can to make the driver profession more attractive. We therefore appreciate the anticipation of deadlines for the establishment of safe and secure parking areas on the TEN-T network,” she added. 

Alternative fuels infrastructure 

TRAN embraces the role of additional alternative fuel technologies, such as hydrogen, in multimodal passenger hubs and freight terminals. 

According to the text, electric charging and hydrogen refuelling stations must be deployed by the end of 2030 for both passenger and goods transport. The provision complements the recently agreed EU rules on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR).

“As the vast majority of goods movements and the collective mobility of people is regional and local, urban nodes are critical points where traffic flows in and out of cities. It is vital to have adequate charging and refuelling infrastructure in urban nodes for the wide uptake of alternative fuelled vehicles,” highlighted Raluca Marian.

“Limiting charging and refuelling to depots simply ignores the economic reality that most road transport operators are small entities which cannot afford such investments,” she added.

Intermodal terminals

While the report has many positive elements, it is regrettable that the deadline to develop new multimodal freight terminals in urban nodes remains end of 2040. This is a missed opportunity for the TEN-T Regulation to incentivise the construction of new terminals and hubs and, ultimately, promote intermodality. 

“The revision of the TEN-T Regulation is important for our sector. We are grateful to the two TRAN rapporteurs, Barbara Thaler and Dominique Riquet, for substantially improving the European Commission’s proposal,” said Raluca Marian. 

“Opting for this expedited procedure sends a strong signal to all stakeholders. But we are concerned about the foreseeable clash during the trilogue negotiations, given Member States’ reluctance to invest, as reflected in the Council’s general approach,” she concluded.

View IRU’s full position on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation.