More rail, opening up… Jean Castex presents his program for transport

The former Prime Minister was heard this Wednesday at the National Assembly. Jean Castex has swapped his costume as head of government for that of future president of the Agency for Financing Transport Infrastructure in France (AFIT France). In front of the Hemicycle, he recognized the need to invest massively in rail to decarbonize transport, but without forgetting the road, essential “to open up the territories”.

“Sometimes I am presented as a fervent defender of the train, which is true and claimed, and sometimes as a strong supporter of the road. I think you need both, ”assured Jean Castex before the National Assembly’s Sustainable Development Committee. If he validated the intention of the president of the SNCF Jean-Pierre Farandou to double the modal share of the train in the movements of the French by increasing it from 10 to 20%, the road remains an essential infrastructure in his eyes.

Castex wants to “invest in the road”

“To open up the territories, we must invest in the road”, he insisted, claiming the relaunch of several road projects stopped for many years when he was in Matignon. While Jean-Pierre Farandou is calling for 100 billion in rail investment over 15 years, Jean Castex admitted that the investments for the regeneration of the network were “insufficient”. “But it’s still significantly higher than the previous ten years,” he said.

Deputy David Valence (Horizons), also president of the Infrastructure Orientation Council, recalled that the renovation of all the small lines in France would cost 7 billion euros over ten years. “We have tripled the means allocated to small lines”, to nearly 180 million euros between 2020 and 2022, reminded Jean Castex.

“A question of territorial equity”

“I can recognize that these 180 million are insufficient but thanks to that we have upgraded 1,500 km of small lines”, insisted the former Prime Minister. Accused of favoring “all TGV” to the detriment of daily trains, Jean Castex disputed the existence of a policy favoring only high speed. “Go tell the people of Perpignan that they, the TGV, they are not entitled to it, it is a question of territorial equity”, launched the former elected representative of Prades (Pyrénées-Orientales) to the attention of the opponents of future LGV Bordeaux-Lyon or Montpellier-Perpignan.

Asked about Lyon-Turin, he recalled that the important subject remained “the financing of access” because “the bill (estimated at 15 billion euros) is extremely high”. “There are going to be heavy choices”, warned Jean Castex while insisting on the fact that the questioning of the project was not on the agenda.

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