ERFA welcomes the European Commissions Mobility Package as an important opportunity to foster a more competitive, cleaner and safer transport system.
Today the transport sector still accounts for 25% of total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This figure is dramatically and constantly growing, driven by the road sector, which accounts for 21% of total GHG emissions in Europe. The Mobility package is an important step forward in creating the right price signals and conditions for customers to choose the most sustainable modes of transport.
ERFA, representing rail new entrants, wants to attract new and more customers to eco-friendly rail. However, rails ability to grow is held back by both cost and quality issues.
ERFA therefore welcomes the European Commissions revision of the Eurovignette Directive as a way of addressing the different charging policies for rail and road, which today distort the price signals in favour of road
It is vital that the right price signals are put in place to better reflect the high costs created by harmful pollution, a high level of accidents and the congestion caused by the different transport modes. Today these high costs are mostly borne by society, the environment and the taxpayer. Heavy good vehicles have 3.5 times more negative impact than rail freight trains, but only pay for 30% of their externalities. Including external costs in charging schemes can play a role in incentivizing transport users to adopt smarter and greener behaviours.
Hand in hand with creating a more level playing field between rail and road, ERFA is fully committed to addressing the quality and other cost issues that hold back rails performance and attractiveness for customers. Delivering on the commitments of the rail sector statement and Ministerial Declaration of Rotterdam are key to improving the performance of the rail freight corridors; accelerating the removal of unjustified and unnecessary national rules for rail companies is also important to reducing rails costs; and improving the efficiency, consistency and transparency of todays rail charging scheme will also help create the right conditions for a more competitive rail sector.
The on-going efforts to enhance rails performance is part of an effective strategy to decarbonise transport.
ERFA urges Members of the European Parliament and National Governments to take the opportunity of the Mobility package to pave the way for a sustainable, fair and efficient European charging system for road in order to ensure fair competition between modes of transport and to reach the EUs ambitious climate goals.