Joint Statement: Urgent Call for Accelerated Implementation of RRF in Urban Public Transport

24 Oct 2023

UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, and ETF, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, have jointly issued a statement urging the European Commission and Member States to expedite the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) in the realm of urban public transport. The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), a pivotal component of the Next Generation EU program, was introduced to address the socio-economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a substantial budget of €724 billion, the RRF aims to support EU Member States in executing reforms and investments outlined in their NRRPs, aligning with EU priorities and country-specific recommendations.

However, UITP and ETF assert that the RRF has yet to realize its potential in the urban public transport sector. Several key concerns have been highlighted:

  1. Incomplete Implementation: Despite comprehensive investment and reform plans in the areas of urban, local, and regional mobility networks, the full-scale implementation of these commitments within NRRPs remains limited across Member States.
  2. Insufficient Focus on Sustainable Transport: The RRF’s impact on sustainable urban transport, particularly under the C11 priority component (Sustainable Urban Transport), has been hindered by a shortage of investments and policy reforms. Only 14 out of 27 Member States are planning C11 measures, leading to significant national disparities in sustainable mobility expenditures.
  3. Lack of Transparency: Limited public data on RRF projects at both European and national levels hampers the ability to evaluate the impact of the Facility on urban public transport. Transparency is crucial to hold Member States accountable for their reform and investment initiatives.
  4. Administrative Challenges: Coordination and complementarity issues between existing EU funding programs, including the RRF, pose challenges for local authorities in accessing and managing these resources, exacerbated by the 2026 implementation timeline.

UITP and ETF emphasize the need for the RRF to play a more prominent role in supporting investment levels and the quality of reforms in sustainable mobility and urban public transport. They call on the European Commission and Member States to expedite the implementation process to meet commitments within NRRPs, especially considering the Facility’s end date on December 31, 2023. An extension of the RRF deadline is also suggested to ensure proper fulfillment of commitments.

Furthermore, UITP and ETF stress that investing in local public transport networks is vital for post-pandemic recovery, addressing climate challenges, reducing living costs, and achieving the goals of the European Green Deal. These investments can create quality public transport jobs, enhance accessibility, and promote modal shifts towards greener transportation.

In conclusion, both associations emphasize the necessity of prioritizing local collective passenger transport to fulfill the objectives of the Green Deal, enhance the resilience and sustainability of the public transport sector, and ensure a brighter, greener future.

Signed on 24 October 2023