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Last update: 03 06 2010

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Transport infrastructure - TEN-T projects

Development of transport infrastructure should help to unveil full potential of the European common market. Visegrad countries are integral part of some of the TEN-T priority transport axes.

The idea of Trans-European Networks (TEN) emerged at the end of the 1980s in connection with the proposed integrated single market. Transport infrastructure, as well as energy and telecommunication networks, was deemed necessary for real integration of the European market, with freedom of movement for goods, persons and services. This includes the interconnection and interoperability of national networks as well as access to such networks. Furthermore, they believed that construction of these networks would help spur economic growth and employment.

Transport networks constitute an important part of this concept. According to the EC sources, the EU 27 dispose of 5 000 000 km of paved roads, out of which 61 600 km are motorways, 215 400 km of rail lines, out of which 107 400 km electrified, and 41 000 km of navigable inland waterways. Most of these transport infrastructures have been developed under national policy premises. The TEN-Transport project shall establish a single, multimodal network that integrates land, sea and air transport networks throughout the Community. The European Commission considers an efficient trans-European transport network (TEN-T) to be a key element in the relaunched Lisbon strategy for competitiveness and employment in Europe. If Europe is to fulfil its economic and social potential, it is essential to build the missing links and remove the bottlenecks in our transport infrastructure, as well as to ensure the sustainability of our transport networks into the future. Furthermore, it integrates environmental protection requirements with a view to promoting sustainable development.

Traffic between EU member states is expected to double by 2020. It is estimated that the investment required to complete and modernise a true trans-European network in the enlarged EU would be some 500 billion Euros in 2007-2020, out of which 270 billion Euros should go to the priority axis and projects. Grants, in particular under the TEN-T budget line and the Cohesion and European Development Funds, play a major role in both project preparation and implementation phases. Money is allocated to studies, helping to overcome early stage project difficulties, and to the works phase. Projects could also get loans from the European Investment Bank.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is part of three out of 30 TEN-T Priority Programs. One of these is program number 22 whose aim is to increase the quality of railway connection between Germany/Austria and Athens via Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Sofia. Then, The CR is part of priority program number 23 which aims to reach better railway between Gdansk and Vienna/Bratislava. This railway goes through two big cities in the CR – Ostrava and Brno. The third priority program is motorway axis Gdansk – Brno/Bratislava – Vienna. But none of these is finished.

For long time, there had been a critique from various NGOs who complained that the CR had not identified its priorities in transport infrastructure. Finally, the Transport Sector Strategy was created in the second half of 2009. This document defines main transport priorities till 2013. In rail transportation the main priority is to finish four transit corridors which interconnect five crucial locations – western, northern, southern Bohemia and southern and northern Moravia. Two out of these four corridors have already been finished. These transit corridors are more or less the same as the Czech sections of TEN-T Priority Programs no. 22 and no. 23.

Priorities in road transportation are to complete primary motorway network which connects main Czech cities. Since 1989 the number of finished motorway kilometres has almost doubled (to 1111 km in 2009). When finished, the primary motorway network should have about 2000 km and it should help to reach the EU objective – to make all regions easily accessible. Second priority in road transportation is to build various city, town and village bypasses.

The main export-import transport partners of the CR in 2008 were (downwards) Germany, Slovakia, Poland and Austria and Italy. But just in case of Slovakia and Poland the rail transportation rate exceeds the motorway transportation.

There is also principle of co-modality which is promoted in the CR and the whole EU. The aim of co-modality is to use optimal means of transport, e.g. the cooperation of rail and road transportation, and thus to make transportation more environmental friendly. This cooperation works very well when transporting from the CR to seaports. The CR wants to increase the usage on domestic transportation as well. The priority in combined transportation is to create more ‘multimodal logistic centres’ which are centres where hauliers change the means of transport and where related services (such as packing goods, loading) are concentrated. This should especially help to increase the usage of rail and waterways transportation.

The PPP (Public Private Partnership) projects should become one of main tools how to finance transportation development projects in the CR. But currently, PPP projects are not very common in the CR because neither legislation nor public service is prepared adequately. Today, there have been three PPP pilot projects: D3/R3 motorway on the south of the CR and project AirCon which should improve rail connection of Prague airport Ruzyně with the city. There are plans to build the fourth line (‘line D’) of Prague metro through PPP project.  We have to add that none of these pilot PPP projects have been realized so far and that the progress is very slow.


Hungary is in the path of 4 TEN-T corridors that are main transit corridors at the same time.

Corridor number IV. is connecting Dresden/Nürnberg, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Arad, Bucharest, Sofia, Saloniki and Istanbul. It consists of 487 km of railway and 410 km of roadway. Corridor number V. is connecting Triest/Koper, Fiume, Budapest, Kiev, and has a side branch from Budapest to Mohács, Eszék and Belgrade. The railway is 996 km, the roadway 784 km long. Corridor number X. is a roadway and partly railway project connecting Budapest, Röszke, Belgrade, Skopje and Tirana. The railway is 156 km, the roadway 171 km long. Corridor number VII. is the Danube inland waterway corridor from Austria to Romania, the Hungarian part is 378 km long.

National priorities

With the acceleration of Hungarian EU accession and the presented new EU transport policy guidelines Hungary felt the need to create a new transport policy as well. The 2003-2015 transport policy was accepted by the Parliament in 2004. The goals and strategic development guidelines are in accord with the EU transport policy guidelines, the European trends and the development directions and technical demands of the TEN-T network.

The strategic goals of the Hungarian transport policy are the following:

  • improving the life quality, preserving health, decreasing the regional differences, improving the transport safety, protecting the artificial and natural environment;
  • supporting the successful integration into EU structures;
  • improving and expanding the relations with the neighbouring countries;
  • advancing the realisation of the regional development goals;
  • creating the conditions for efficient operation and maintenance through regulated competition.
  • The Transport Operative Programme (TOP), part of the National Development Plan (NDP) set 4 priorities for 2007-13.
  • improving the international accessibility of the country and its regional centres;
  • improving the accessibility of statistical sub-regions (level LAU1);
  • connecting the means of transport, improving the economic centres intermodality and transport infrastructure;
  • improving the public transport in the cities and agglomeration.

Projects with emphasised importance for joining the European transport network:

  • improving the high-speed roadways to connect to the pan-European network, and providing all the regions in the country with adequate accessibility;
  • transforming the capital-centred network with the bypassing ring-road and building a bridge North to Budapest and at Dunaújváros;
  • improving the main railway network as part of the single European railway network, which secures the place of Hungary in the transit system and allows the building of high-speed railway to the other member states;
  • improving the logistics service centre network and the modern combined transit terminals;
  • developing the waterway and the national common ports in the Hungarian Danube section;
  • expanding the Budapest Ferihegy international airport by building a third terminal.

80 percent of the Hungarian PPP projects are realised in the transport infrastructure sector. Projects mainly consist of building and operating highways. The Hungarian budget supported the projects with 235 million Euros in 2007, and it is expected to increase to 407 million Euros by 2012.


Poland is a part of four priority TEN-T corridors: the railway axis Gdansk – Warsaw – Brno/Bratislava – Vienna; the highway Gdansk – Brno/Bratislava – Vienna; railway axis “Rail Baltica” Warsaw – Kaunas – Riga – Tallinn – Helsinki; the sea highway on the Baltic Sea. The most notorious TEN-T project in Poland is the international road corridor that will link Helsinki to Warsaw via Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, “Via Baltica” (S61). After almost five years of disputes between Polish government, ecologists, and European Commission, “Via Baltica” has been finally accepted by all sides of conflict in December 2009 with the Polish section linking: Budzisko - Suwałki - Raczki - Ełk - Szczuczyn - Stawiski - Łomża – Ostrów Mazowiecka - Wyszków – Radzymin – Warsaw.

The key national priority in the development of Polish transport infrastructure is improving transport accessibility and quality of transport, which should mark higher living standards of Polish citizens. To achieve that target road development plan has been executed since 2004 aiming at establishing links between the major urban centres, giving utmost importance to connecting 16 regional capitals. Another main concern is the construction of road networks linking big cities with their surrounding municipalities. Poland’s aim is not only doubling the length of the motorways in the years 2007–2013, but also upgrading the existing national road network. In addition, the right balance in the proportion of public spending between urban public transport (13,9%) and roads (51%) should be established. Another main concern is airport infrastructure modernization and development in order to improve the accessibility of air transport and eliminate the isolation of regions.

According to the report “PPP market in Poland 2009” (Investment Support, 15 January 2010), there were 41 PPP projects published in 2009 and none of them involved transport infrastructure.