This year, the Netherlands will receive a grant of 97 million euros from Brussels for infrastructure projects. Rijkswaterstaat – the executive branch of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment – will receive 11.6 million euros for new, transnational projects involving innovative traffic technologies to streamline traffic flows on the motorways. One such project is truck platooning: trucks negotiating the international corridors closely following one another. Schiphol Airport and Air Traffic Control (LVNL) share a sum of 30 million euros earmarked for innovations in European air traffic control systems. A European grant of 24 million euros is allocated to the doubling and electrification of the railway between Heerlen and Aachen.
The grants are awarded under the European Trans-European Traffic Network (TEN-T) programme. This programme is aimed at developing a single, transnational main network for transport by land, water, and air. The projects have been submitted by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Today, the European member states adopted the intended decision regarding the allocation of European Commission grants.
Rijkswaterstaat will receive a grant of 5.8 million euros for the Via 15 road project in the province of Gelderland. In the years ahead, Rijkswaterstaat will extend the motorway from the Ressen hub to the A12 between Duiven and Zevenaar. The A15 is a major connection between the port of Rotterdam and the European hinterland. The motorway currently still ends in farmland, as a result of which freight transport to and from Germany needs to use a stretch of the underlying road network. This spring, the plotted route has been finalised; the new connection will be completed in the period 2021-2023.
In addition, the Netherlands will also receive 14.2 million euros for projects involving the realisation of infrastructure for alternative fuels, such as a field test for the introduction of twelve filling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles and for fully electric vehicles.
The European grant of more than 11 million euros for tests with innovative traffic technologies will be utilised on roads accommodating a great deal of freight transport, such as the motorway between Rotterdam and Vienna. Trucks connected through WiFI and the mobile 4G network will drive close together. The first truck determines the speed and the route, the subsequent trucks follow at short distances. This frees up road space. Furthermore, all the trucks brake simultaneously, which prevents jolting movements. This will promote a smoother flow of traffic. Truck platooning can save up to ten per cent in fuel.
The investment of 24 million euros for the doubling and electrification of the Heerlen-Landgraaf railway to Aachen will contribute to the realisation of a fast and frequent service to Aachen. In addition, a study will be conducted into the option of an intercity connection between Eindhoven and Aachen. Brussels has also set aside 5.2 million euros to equip 63 freight train engines with the ERTMS railway security system. In the Rotterdam – Genoa freight railway connection, at least 300,000 euros will be invested in systems enabling the earliest possible communication of expected arrival times between trains, railway managers, and terminals in various countries. This information is important to boost the appeal of freight transport by rail.
Schiphol Airport and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands receive a share of the 30 million euros allocated to the SESAR programme. SESAR aims to innovate the European air traffic control system by integrating ground and on-board technologies. This enables airlines to carry out their flights exactly as planned. This boosts aviation safety, reduces fuel consumption, and cuts back CO2 emissions.
Air Traffic Control the Netherlands will also receive a grant for the introduction of Performance Based Navigation (3.9 million euros), in which the accurate navigation options of aeroplanes are put to more use. This leads to more efficient routes and less noise. The 97 million euros come from a fund that holds a total of 850 million euros. The Netherlands also has an interest in grants awarded to neighbouring countries.