EU Includes Cycling in Infrastructure Funding
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Cycling and EuroVelo, the European cycling route network have been included in a crucial EU infrastructure vote on funding rules, opening the door to substantial investments amounts.
According to the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF); the European Parliament’s Tourism and Transport Committee has voted on crucial guidelines for EU transport infrastructure last Tuesday. For the first time, the members of parliament (MEPs) have decided to include cycling within the Trans-European Transport Network (‘TEN-T’) guidelines.
Bernhard Ensink, ECF’s Secretary General explains that the decision comes after almost a year of intense campaigning by the European Cyclists’ Federation, its member groups and industry allies and tens of thousands of emails sent to MEPs in the lead-up to the vote. Although not adopting the exact text proposed by ECF, the Committee voted the following amendments:
“Synergies with other policies should be exploited, for instance with tourism aspects by including on civil engineering structures such as bridges or tunnels bicycle infrastructure for long distance cycling paths like the EuroVelo routes.”
Access to infrastructure funding
“Our voice was heard. If the cycling world hadn’t mobilized, then cycling and EuroVelo would have been sidelined by other forms of transport. Even worse, large scale transport infrastructure projects would have ignored the needs of cyclists,” says Ensink. “Being included within the text will give cycling the opportunity to access to infrastructure funding.
Change in attitude
Ensink continues: “This vote represents a significant change in attitude and a first step in the right direction. The European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee has shown that they can improve cycling conditions across the continent by giving cycling the investment it deserves. The doors for more investment in cycling are now open.”
More pressure needed
Between 2007 and 2013, cycling was only allocated 0.7% of EU funding available for transport. For the next financial period (2014-2020), ECF has identified € 6 billion or 10% of EU funding that should be dedicated to cycling, but unlocking these funds will require more pressure on the European institutions from citizens that cycle.
Bigger battles to come
Ensink says: “The fight is not yet over. We have got even bigger battles to come next year as the EU makes important decisions on even larger transport budgets. We are going to need the cycling industry’s help to remind the European, national and regional institutions about the strategic importance of cycling.”
The vote will now go to the Parliament’s full plenary before the details are discussed and negotiated with EU Member States at the Council of the European Union later next year.