The Polish transport industry supported by EU funding

This year marks the end of the first full-time EU budget perspective, in which Poland was the biggest beneficiary of EU aid. The years 2014-2020 will have a similar character. The scale negotiated by the Polish government and the EU funds allocated for this period are almost 73 billion Euros.

[protected]According to preliminary data of the Ministry of Regional Development, the Programme Infrastructure and Environment will receive about 24 billion Euros. This programme will also be co-financed from national funds by more than 4 billion Euros. Poland will spend in 2014-2020 more than 28 billion Euros, or about 115 billion PLN.

As in the current term, OPI for 2014-2020 will be the largest and most important operational program for the further development of Poland.

In these cases, it is important to the new EU approach to have a cohesion policy for 2014-2020. Of particular importance are two documents: Strategy for smart, sustainable and counteracting Social Exclusion – 2020 and V Cohesion Report on the implementation of cohesion policy in the EU member states.

All these documents show clearly that there should be more emphasis on an integrated approach to the planning and implementation of development.

The current EC sectoral approach to development has proved to be ineffective and should be replaced with an integrated approach. It is therefore a very important prerequisite for the evaluation of individual projects and operational programs for the period 2014-2020, including the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment. OPI evaluating a project for the years 2014-2020 were guided by this important criterion.

Investments in infrastructure 

Among the many strategic and programmatic issues, two are structural and systemic, namely: investment in public roads and rail infrastructure. The problem is the lack of comparable systems of charging for the use of the infrastructure and job creation, as a measure of strategic investments in individual priority axes of the program.

With regard to the first question is not possible to reliably estimate the effectiveness of infrastructure investments in public roads and railway infrastructure without a harmonization of charges for the use of them. And this is necessary because rail and road transport function as one area of business.

Poland has traditionally enjoyed in this regard state of deep imbalances. Fees for the use of railway infrastructure are 2 to 3 times higher than those of their competitors – i.e. motor carriers that use public roads. As a result, for many years the huge increase cargo is headed for the road and rail cargo, despite the billions of dollars of investment in rail fall, even in nominal terms.

Railway deserves better

Railway, which has a huge untapped potential, is cut off from the land transport market because of the unequal conditions of competition with road transport. Changing this state of things could mean that in the long run, they could finance their operations exclusively from the market, without applying for an annual budget grants. A separate issue is the system for financing infrastructure investments in roads and railways. 

The new program should hopefully change this state of affairs.[/protected]

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Wojciech Bugajski

About Wojciech Bugajski

Wojtek has over 12 years of experience in transport management. His professional expertise includes transport loan projects, PPP motorways and road user charging systems (cooperation with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - UNECE), ITS projects, financial analysis and modeling, and the implementation of renewable resources energy projects. He is currently working at the Strategy Office for PKP Polish Railway Company HQ in Warsaw. He also has a long-term cooperation with the World Bank and European Commission and Council. Since 2006, Wojtek has been engaged in the implementation of intelligent transport systems policy for the Polish government. He is also a member of ITS POLAND, a professional public-private initiative dedicated to the development and deployment of ITS technologies to enhance safe, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation systems. ITS Polska is a partnership of knowledge and viable source of information for all ITS stakeholders including industry, transport professionals, decision makers, research and academic institutions).