European officials from all branches of government have agreed on a plan to develop a multi-modal, single-market transportation structure by 2030.
The agreement must now be approved by the European Parliament Plenary and Council.
Financing for the significant, multi-decade project will largely come from member states, although officials anticipate there will be some federal monies available.
This core transportation network will unify European roads, airports, canals and railways, according to the agreement reached by members of the European Commission, the EU Council and Parliament.
The new scheme is to deliver enhanced safety and less congestion, which will lead to smoother and quicker journeys. According to officials, the TEN-T network will consist of smaller routes feeding into the main transportation infrastructure at both the regional and national levels.
“The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe's citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes' travel time from this comprehensive network,” according to a government statement.
In the new plan, isolated projects will no longer be pursued and developments that enhance the core network will be given priority. Standards will also be enacted to make sure all modes can use applicable infrastructure without safety or technical issues. Cross-border projects and inter-modality are two of the most important aspects of any development moving forward, officials said.
“This is a historic agreement to create a powerful European transport network across 28 member states. Transport is vital to the European economy; without good connections, Europe will not grow or prosper,” the commission’s vice president, Siim Kallas, said in a statement. “This agreement will connect East with West and replace today’s transport patchwork with a network that is genuinely European. This is a major step towards building a new transport network that will be the backbone to boost growth and competitiveness in Europe's Single Market." - Jon Ross