France scraps TGV plans in new investment programme
The French government has unveiled a 12 billion euro investment programme, with notably no new money for France’s famous high speed TGVs, judged too costly.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault declared that his government hoped to break with what he called “pharaonic” projects.
The previous Sarkozy government had planned to expand the TGV network massively.
Ayrault said the idea now was to invest in the existing rail network and trains.
“A TGV line at 12 billion euros would cost the same as the replacement 4 times over of the Corail trains,” Ayrault explained.
He promised that every one of France’s Intercité trains would be replaced between 2015 and 2025, declaring that these were the trains which most people used to travel around the country.
However, the government will go ahead with work already planned to begin before 2030, for a TGV line to link the south western cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse.
TGV Lines linking Bordeaux to Hendaye, Paris to Lyons via Orléans and Clermont Ferrand, and Poitiers to Limoges, are to be put on the backburner.
The other most notable element of the investment programme, which will be rolled out over ten years, concerns energy conservation.
Socialist Prime Minister Ayrault was keen to appease the government’s increasingly grumpy coalition partners, the green EE-LV party.
He announced that a new “intelligent” electricity meter called Linky, which allows people to make energy savings, will replace all the 35 million old ones by 2020.
The government says the money for the investment programme will be partly raised by the sale of the state’s shares in public companies.