the ambitious “plan” for the transport of tomorrow

In July 2022, Jean-Pierre Farandou, the CEO of SNCF, demanded 100 billion euros over fifteen years to regenerate the French rail network, create metropolitan RER outside Ile-de-France and complete a few lines at great speed. Six months later, the Infrastructure Orientation Council (COI), chaired by Renaissance MP David Valence, is preparing to submit to the government a list of investment priorities to meet transport needs over the decade 2022-2032. . And he also recommends not to skimp on the means.

In its previous report, the COI had identified all the expectations of local authorities. This time, he sorts and eliminates, in order to enlighten the Prime Minister. “The Council is a tool for the objectification of public choices”, explains its president. The deputies, senators, elected officials of all political persuasions and experts who compose it have multiplied the hearings to arrive at these proposals. It’s up to the government to decide.

This report, made public by the information sites Mobilettre and Context, before its official presentation to the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, sends three clear messages. The first is the need to reduce the carbon footprint of transport and, to do so, to invest primarily in rail. The second is that, even with choices, it takes a lot of money to meet emission reduction targets. The third is that we have to see in the very long term: the report is projected until 2042, for four five-year terms!

Night trains

It therefore does not follow the initial roadmap given by the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune. Under pressure from the Ministry of Finance, the latter first requested a scenario in which expenditure does not exceed what was envisaged in the 2019 mobility orientation law (already revised upwards), namely 54 .8 billion euros over the period 2023-2027, then 65.8 billion euros between 2028 and 2032. No way, said the COI, because this “would lead to a five-year period where the heritage deteriorates, where modernization and development operations are stopped” : it would be only “a crisis scenario”. The COI therefore favors another scenario, “ecological planning”, adopted unanimously by its members. It brings the bill to 84.3 billion euros over the period 2023-2027, then 90 billion euros between 2028 and 2032. For the next five years, it would therefore be necessary to find almost 30 billion additional euros.

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