“Increased investments in roads and railways; a reduction in the maintenance-lag for the first time in decades; and major investment in coastal administration. The Høyre-Fr.P (Conservative-/ Progress Party) government’s fiscal budget proposals include NOK 54.6bn to transport. This is 14.1% higher than the budget proposed for 2014 by the previous government. But equally important, the sector is now being reorganised to make it more efficient,” says transport minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen about the fiscal budget for 2015.
The operation and maintenance of today’s infrastructure will be given high priority.
“We must take care of the infrastructure we have. Over many years, the maintenance of roads and railways has increasingly lagged behind. In 2015, this will change. For the first time in decades, the maintenance-lag will be reduced. Combined with efficiency benefits we will also stop growth in maintenance-lag on the railways,” says Solvik-Olsen.
Allocations for road network improvement schemes increase by 18 per cent compared with the budget proposal for 2014 from the red-green alliance. This is based on a clear priority.
Several major projects that have been planned on the basis of a high ratio of toll financing can start up with state grants. All major projects that are planned for start-up in 2015 through the action programme of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are eligible for start-up grants. In addition, NOK 600 million will be used in 2015 for the planning of more new road projects. For example, planning grants will be awarded for many key projects on the E39, E18 and E6 roads.
The Government is improving commuting by making public transport options more attractive. The allocations for rail purposes increase by 21 per cent compared with the budget proposal for 2014 from the red-green alliance. Allocations to the Follo Line are way ahead of what was anticipated after two years in the National Transport Plan.
The Sørland Line (Stavanger-Kristiansand-Oslo) will see a new and improved rail service with a greater frequency of trains, while the Trønder commuter line will be extended southwards to Melhus. Preparations are under way for the National State Raileays (NSB) to procure more passenger rolling stock to improve rail services in East Norway (Greater Oslo area?) and on the Jær Line.
Funding for the Fornebu Line will satisfy ambitions for the state to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of major investments in public transport infrastructures in the four main cities.