Barcelona & Boston are developing their transport networks
It has recently been announced that Barcelona aims to eliminate all cars which are older than 20 years on its roads on weekdays, which is set to be implemented in 2019, and has also been spread to the 39 close-knit boroughs. The city aims to not only reduce the number of drivers which enter the city, but also to effectively cut emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years to improve the air quality within the city.
From 1 January 2019, all cars registered before 1999 and vans before 1996 will be eliminated from the city. The ban will create a significant impact for over 100,000 vehicles and 20,000 van users, according to the city council, accounting for 16 percent of the city’s vehicles.In order to counteract this, free public transportation will be afforded to individuals who forfeit their vehicles for three years. It has been reported that high pollution levels in the city cause 3,500 premature deaths each year in the capital.
However, although the ban has just under two years to come into fruition, many citizens have shown increased dissatisfaction. El Pas Catalonia has reported that individuals have stated, “Am I supposed to buy another car” and “Whoever has a car of more than twenty years is because he cannot have another, it seems we are all rich”.
Nonetheless, the council has issued a statement, commenting that their goal, in partnership with the government, is “to reduce emissions by 10 percent over the next five years to gradually reach the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation and accelerate the adoption of more intensive local measures in order to reach the levels set by the EU before 2020.” The city’s neighbour, Munich has also been ordered by Bavaria’s highest court to create a “clean air” strategy, eliminating diesel cars if required.
The prospect of reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality through eliminating older vehicles, especially diesel is becoming increasingly apparent all over Europe. London is also launching a toxicity charge for vehicles which enter the city in cars which emit increased emissions this October.
Such influence is also being felt across the pond. Boston is placing significant investment within its transportation systems through over 50 projects, at a total cost of $4.7 billion. The city’s 2030 Vision will transform and strengthen the city’s existing infrastructures and provide a boost to the local economy, according to the Boston Business Journal. The project incorporates the use of increased public transport and sustainable initiatives, with a growing number of cycle paths and use of car-sharing.
Read the March 2017 issue of Construction Global here
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.