France invests €900 million in 162 new public transport projects
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced on Wednesday the tramway and high service bus projects that will benefit from a 900 million euros budget released as part of the recovery plan. Declaring the list of selected projects supported by 95 local authorities as part of the call for projects launched in the spring, Castex defended public transport as a vector of republican equality.
“Public transport brings people together. They are vectors of republican equality, to which we are particularly attached in these times, and which I invite you to claim,” Mr. Castex said in Tourcoing, in front of many elected representatives.
Public transport gets a boost
At the beginning of September, the French government indicated that it was releasing an additional 400 million euros to develop public transport in regional communities, bringing the overall budget to 900 million euros. According to Matignon, this is “the largest amount granted in the history of calls for projects on exclusive right-of-way public transport.”
A very large majority of the projects submitted were selected: of the 187 applications received, 85% were given the green light.
25 new tramway lines, 74 new bus lines
The projects selected concern public transport on track or bed (850 million euros) and 64 multimodal transport hubs (42 million euros) throughout the country, excluding the Île-de-France region.
25 new tramway lines (168 km) and 74 new high service level bus lines (852 km) are to be built, with the head of government emphasising “a significant leverage effect, for (overall) investments of 9,9 billion euros”.
For example, in the European metropolis of Lille, the six projects selected will benefit from 120 million euros in aid, an investment that will be used to build a new tramway between Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing.
Jean Castex also insisted on “the stakes in the fight against global warming” that public transport represents, pointing out that “over 2020-2025, the government will have committed more than 2 billion euros”.
France 2030 plan
It was also learnt yesterday that, on October 12th, at the Elysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron will present the “France 2030” plan, an investment plan worth tens of billions of euros targeting “a dozen sectors of the future”, from green hydrogen to batteries, via small SMR nuclear reactors (which are easier to build than large plants).
According to government sources, the France 2030 plan, which will cost between 30 and 50 billion euros over eight to ten years, aims to “regain French and European independence in the industries and skills of the future”, said Macron’s entourage, who wants to build the Ariane and TGVs of tomorrow. It will be added to the 100 billion euros post-Covid recovery plan, which focuses on more short-term measures.
The sectors targeted also include intelligent cars, artificial intelligence, and new agricultural and environmental technologies. This plan will include skills and professions sections to ensure the transmission of knowledge and the commitment of young people.