The EU’s €700bn Transport Plan – Ruta Via de la Plata

The EU finalises a €700bn investment plan into nine strategic transport corridors between now and 2030.

Also, drive Spain’s Silver Road with 2CV Adventures. Lisbon bans old cars. The price of petrol in Luxembourg edges ever closer to the €1/l mark as German diesel dips below. A tanker driver earns a timely and expensive reminder of new HGV winter tyre rules in Norway. Too much time off means workers are rushing to finish the new bridge in central Bratislava.

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THE EU’s €700BN TRANSPORT PLAN

Massive investment to kick start jobs and growth and help complete single market.

The nine key transport corridors for roads, rail and waterways to receive €700bn of investment up until 2030.

The nine key transport corridors for roads, rail and waterways to receive €700bn of investment up until 2030.

Nine key transport corridors across Europe will see €700bn of investment over the next fifteen years.

Headline projects include improved road and rail links for 94 European ports, 38 airports with rail connections into major cities, 15,000km of railways upgraded to high speed and 35 cross-border projects to reduce bottlenecks.

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said today, ‘The Trans-European Transport Network is crucial for a Union striving for more growth, jobs and competitiveness. As Europe is slowly stepping out of the economic crisis, we need a connected Union, without barriers, in order for our single market to thrive.’

The idea is that most of the money will come from private funds. The EU wants to leverage its own cash by creating a stable, transparent ‘pipeline’ of credible projects to lower risk and make them attractive to investors.

The amount available to transport (and energy) in the period 2014-2020 is €26bn via the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). It will use scary sounding ‘innovative financial instruments’ like project bonds to secure outside funding. CEF is something of a testbed for how the EU wants finance all projects in the future.

Road schemes expected to benefit in the initial wave include an upgraded A4 in northern Italy, widening the A10 Berlin ring road, the Rotterdam northern bypass to connect the A13 and A16, the Utrecht ring road, the A355 around Strasbourg, the Bratislava ring road and D3 motorway in Slovakia, A1 Tuszyn-Pyrzowice in Poland and Comarnic-Brasov highway in Romania.

Finalised plans will be presented to the European Parliament, Council and Commission in the spring. They will then be subject to approval by the Member States involved in each project.

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Spain’s Silver Road – or Ruta Via de la Plata – built originally by the Romans, stretches 500 miles north to south, coast to coast, down the west side of the Iberian Peninsula from Gijon to Seville. There are plenty of resources available for people wishing to explore this route and its remaining Roman relics - see RutaDeLaPlata.com - but those looking for a fun adventure with like-minded souls, and some guidance on the best sites, should check out 2CV Adventure’s seven day organised tour in late March. The £1,250 per person price - based on two sharing one of the firm’s Citroen 2CVs - also covers return Brittany Ferries sailings from the UK, all hotels and evening meals as well as back up and a road book. See 2CVadventures.co.uk for more.

Spain’s Silver Road – or Ruta Via de la Plata – built originally by the Romans, stretches 500 miles north to south, coast to coast, down the west side of the Iberian Peninsula from Gijon to Seville. There are plenty of resources available for people wishing to explore this route and its remaining Roman relics – see RutaDeLaPlata.com – but those looking for a fun adventure with like-minded souls, and some guidance on the best sites, should check out 2CV Adventure’s seven day organised tour in late March. The £1,250 per person price – based on two sharing one of the firm’s Citroen 2CVs – also covers return Brittany Ferries sailings from the UK, all hotels and evening meals as well as back up and a road book. See 2CVadventures.co.uk for more.

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roundup: PORTUGAL. Cars first registered before 2000 are banned from Lisbon city centre between 07:00-21:00 from today says ThePortugalNews.com. Those registered before 1996 are banned from most of the urban area. Historic cars and motorbikes are exempt. FUEL. The cost of petrol in Luxembourg falls ever closer to the €1 per litre mark says Wort.lu. As of today the nationally regulated price of unleaded 95 is €1.05 (unleaded 98 is €1.12). Diesel is €0.984. Meanwhile over in north Germany, a litre of diesel dipped below €1/l for the first time since March 2009 says thelocal.de. The national average however is still €1.12says the ADAC with petrol at €1.26. A survey of Eurozone fuel prices earlier this week by Euronews found that diesel was cheapest in Luxembourg and petrol cheapest in Estonia. Petrol was most expensive in the Netherlands and diesel the most expensive in Italy. NORWAY. A tanker driver carrying a flammable load earned a driving ban and 9000NOK (£775) fine in Ore, southern Norway, yesterday for having all summer tyres says state road operator Vegvesen.no. From 1 January, all vehicles 3.5t+ must have winter tyres on all axles and wheels. See moreSLOVAKIA. Holidays in the summer and three weeks off at Christmas mean the desperately needed replacement for the Soviet Stary Most Bridge in Bratislava may miss the deadline for EU funding says TheDaily.sk. The €70m project is ten weeks behind schedule but must be finished by the end of this year to qualify for regional development funds. A three shift pattern has been introduced. Large gaps between the loose wooden slats meant we had our hearts in our mouths when we crossed in May 2013. It was closed to pedestrians soon after. Stary Most was built by German POWs after WW2 as a temporary structure.

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