FRENCH transport infrastructure finance agency AFITF is to be fully operational on January 1 2005, following the publication on December 1 of its establishing decree. AFITF’s 12-strong board will have six members nominated by the government, one MP, one senator, two local politicians and two ’qualified persons’.

Drawing on the dividends of motorway concession companies, government grants and long-term borrowing, AFITF is expected to have provided €7·5bn by 2012 towards projects costing €20bn. Its budget for 2005 is expected to be €635m. Rail priorities include TGV Est, the Perpignan - Figueres high speed line, associated works at Perpignan and the Dijon - Modane corridor.

On December 8 Transport Minister Gilles de Robien presented a progress update on projects taken forward for completion by 2025 by CIADT, the inter-ministerial planning and development committee, when it had met on December 18 2003 (RG 2.04 p81). The Nîmes and Montpellier bypass is expected to receive planning approval at the start of 2005, and the team charged with producing a funding plan for TGV Rhin-Rh