Brussels, 11 July 2012
The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, an extension of the funding by France and Italy of an experimental rolling motorway service in the Alps on the Dijon‑Modane‑Turin route. This extension will allow Italy and France to finalise the concession procedure for this innovative rail freight service which was launched in 2009 by means of a public call for European candidates. The two states have given their commitment that the effective concession for the service will be awarded by no later than 30 June 2013.
France and Italy are collaborating on a project for a rolling motorway service in the Alps, extending 175 kilometres between Savoy (Aiton) and Piedmont (Orbassano) and using the Mont Cenis rail tunnel. This innovative service, currently in an experimental phase, enables lorries to be transported on special trains. By providing a credible alternative to the “road‑only” approach in the Alpine area, it allows road transport risks and the impact of road haulage on the environment to be reduced.
In 2003 the Commission approved this scheme, which meets a main objective of European transport policy, as development aid for combined transport (see IP/03/1696).
In today’s decision, the Commission has agreed to a final extension of France and Italy's funding of the experimental phase of this rolling motorway service, the phasing‑in of which has been hampered and slowed down by technical and administrative problems. This public assistance for the rolling motorway service in the Alps facilitates a shift in the mode of trans‑Alpine freight traffic, and thus plays an important role in coordinating means of transport in a sensitive area.
Approval is subject to the concession for the service being awarded by no later than 30 June 2013. The Commission will ensure that the commercial exploitation of this rail freight service is carried out under conditions that comply with European state aid legislation.
The extension of the aid has been approved under Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which permits assistance to projects of this kind subject to the conditions laid down by the 2008 Community guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings (see OJ C 184, 22.7.2008).
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case numbers SA.33845 et SA.34146 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.