France: Transport funding agency AFITF has agreed to contribute €10m towards the Leslys project to build a rail link between Lyon Part-Dieu and Saint-Exup?ry Airport (RG 2.07 p59). It will also provide €20m for Sytral's Line T4 running 10 km from Line T2 at Jet d'Eau-Mend?s France to Cliniques Feyzin street works for this €185·3m project began in April.

Germany: Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel has proposed that value-added tax on long-distance rail tickets should be halved. His suggestion was welcomed by DB Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn, who promised that any reduction in tax would be passed on to passengers.

Spain: The Ministry of Development has agreed to provide €110m for improvements to the Barcelona suburban network, including a new station at Sagrera/Meridiana and renewal of overhead line equipment. The ministry is also funding studies for a new line between Cornell? and Castelldefels that would serve Sant Boi de Llobregat, Viladecans and Gav?.

UK: Network Rail has launched a programme of inflation-linked bonds unconditionally guaranteed by the British government. On May 2 a first tranche of 30-year bonds raised £1bn.

USA: The Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals from organisations seeking to demonstrate new technology for reduction of level crossing and other risks, positive train control, communications and train location. Grants totalling $2m are available.

Under the terms of Safetea-LU programme, DoT has chosen the proposed 5 km Oakland Airport Connector in California to pilot the use of public-private partnerships for federally-funded transport projects.

Zambia: The government has signed a memorandum of understanding to assist with raising US$230m towards the cost of constructing a railway between the Lumwana copper mines at Solwezi and the current railhead at Chingola (RG 6.05 p301). Roads are deteriorating under traffic generated in North West province.