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European Funds for Infrastructure, Climate, Environment (FEnIKS), the successor to OPI&E, is the largest infrastructure initiative of the new EU financial perspective in Poland, with a budget of €25bn. In contrast to the previous trends, the initiative will provide more funding to roads than to railroads, causing widespread criticism from the business and NGOs. Specifically, under FEnIKS, more than €14.5bn is to be allocated to transport and only about €4.5bn – to railroads in 2021-2027.
The Institute for Civil Affairs stresses that although the emphasis of the detailed description of the programme is the role of transport in reducing CO2 emissions as well as protecting the environment and climate, these issues are not strongly intertwined. This leads to a lack of coherence between the program’s goals and its financial structure – almost half of the budget €6.5bn is allocated to road transport and much less to railroads. It is worth noting, that according to the Rail Freight Forward coalition, which includes, among others, PKP Cargo, rail freight transport emits 9 times less CO2 than road transport and 8 times less air pollution than car transport. Also, according to the Institute of Civil Affairs in cooperation with Transport & Environment, the lack of decisive steps taken to change transport trends, may result in the purchase of emission allowances after 2030, which may amount to even PLN 130bn; even if Poland were to take the most ambitious measures possible, it would still fail to achieve the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the non-ETS sector by 7% by 2030. So far, only €705m have been allocated in the program for the construction of new railroad lines.
The ProKolej Foundation also points out the lack of coherence between the program’s goals and its allocation structure and proposes to increase the allocation for new and modernized railroad lines, by €900,000 each. Thanks to this, the expenditures on railroad and road infrastructure in the whole program would reach the ratio of 1:1. The Foundation also highlighted that, as far as terms of alternative fuels are concerned, only the expansion of the infrastructure for charging electric cars and refueling CNG/LNG has been included. Instead, the electrification of railroads (and hydrogen) has been forgotten as well as the development of the TEN-T network (the section on urban transport policy). Methods to prevent urban sprawl, such as parking policy or reliance on public transport are also not included.