FRANCE: The proposed financing mechanism for the construction of the CDG Express dedicated rail link between Paris Est station and Charles-de-Gaulle Airport has been approved by the European Commission.
Under the current proposals, the 32 km link is to be built and operated by a 50:50 joint venture between SNCF Réseau and Aéroports de Paris, with opening planned for 2023. The estimated €1·32bn cost would be financed through a levy which is to be imposed from 2024 on all non-transit air passengers using the airport. In addition, a cession dailly acceptée state guarantee mechanism would guarantee payment of the concessionaire's loans.
A competitive tendering process would be used to select the train operator.
The CDG Express project will improve co-ordination between transport modes in-line with the EU's transport policy objectives, the European Commission said on June 26, and the planned state aid would be both necessary and proportionate. The levy would not exceed the funding gap of the project, while claw-back mechanisms would ensure that the concessionaire was not overcompensated.
At present the airport is linked to the centre of Paris by a branch of RER Line B. It is also served by inter-regional TGVs using LGV Interconnexion to bypass the capital.