The core trans-European transport network (TEN-T) of fast roads is gaining ground and achieving positive results for travellers, such as shorter travel times and more motorway mileage, according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). EU funding and the European Commission’s actions have contributed positively to these results, but most central and eastern Member States still lag behind and only some 400 km of new TEN-T roads have been completed with EU support since 2014. In addition, seamless road travel along the network is hampered by incomplete cross-border sections and poorly coordinated parking and clean fuel infrastructure, while insufficient maintenance by Member States puts the network’s condition at risk in the long run.
Roads account for the largest share of EU passenger and freight transport. By 2030, the Commission aims to complete almost 50 000 km of motorways and express roads covering the nine core TEN-T corridors and all major EU traffic routes. Since 2007, it has granted Member States around €78 billion to build new roads and revamp existing ones, including around €40 billion for those on the network.
The auditors assessed the progress made – and the Commission’s role – in completing a fully functioning TEN-T core road network. They also checked Member States’ contribution to road maintenance and visited Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Spain and Poland.
“Roads play a significant role in linking EU countries and regions, thus contributing to their economic activity, development and growth,” said Ladislav Balko, the ECA Member responsible for the report. “The EU core road network is making progress, but is not yet fully functional”.