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Belgium ‘must’ invest €35 billion in railways by 2031

These resources would have to be injected into maintaining and extending capacity, but also into station reception facilities. Credit: SNCB/Facebook

“The overall sum to be invested in the railways by 2031 must be in the region of 35 billion,” the Federal Minister of Mobility, François Bellot (MR), declared on Friday.

“I am saying to the next government that above and beyond the yearly allocations (currently 2.8 billion, NDLR), in terms of maintaining and extending capacity, further means of investment are required to the tune of five billion euro. This is what we have pinpointed in the context of the national Energy-Climate plan,” François Bellot explained in the columns of La Libre.

“This amount need not necessarily be borrowed since there is scope within both companies (SNCB and Infrabel, NDLR) for the financing of projects. (…) This is a good choice, as it is known that the return on investment largely covers the expense. So, for us, by 2031, the overall amount invested in the railways must be around 35 billion.”

According to the minister, these resources would have to be injected into maintaining and extending capacity, but also into station reception facilities.

François Bellot is also picking up on the liberalisation of the railways market and the call by Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of SNCB, to delay it. For her, entrusting the public service remit to the SNCB for a period of 7 to 10 years beyond 2023 is the best option, because “the SNCB is not ready to face competition.”

The Brussels Times

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