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Funding rules stall TENS progress

WorldWatch

DELIVERY OF Europe's priority transport projects will take twice as long as planned because rigid funding rules are hampering European Commission efforts to finance them.

The claim is made in a report by management consultant PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It says the Trans European Networks (TENs) transport programme, scheduled to run from 1996 to 2010, is now unlikely to finish before 2026. Only 20% of the E125bn projects are complete.

Projects are stalling because funding rules force the Commission to make one-off lump sum contributions rather than spreading them over several years.

'Funding does not reflect the long term nature of these projects, with commitment effectively being drawn out from the budget at the time they are made, ' the report says.

Relaxing the rules would make it easier for the commission to lever in long term private finance.

Commission funding could then be put towards annual performance payments made to contractors that would build, finance and operate schemes.

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