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A new study published today (September 29) on the air-rail debate challenges the “clear political bias” towards trains.
The study, entitled Air and Rail: Setting the Record Straight – environment, investment, mobility and political bias, says its findings raise doubts as to whether that stance is justified.
The report by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) reveals “massive rail subsidies 125 times higher than State aid granted to air transport.”
It claims there is “no evidence that rail is always “greener” or economically beneficial as a mode of transport for Europe.”
It also says the findings shed “serious doubt on the evidence used to justify policies which attempt to shift passengers from air to rail.”
ERA said it report was based on “extensive and independent research.”
Among other findings of the report are:
Mike Ambrose, ERA’s director general, said: "For too long, politicians have favoured rail over air as a solution to many of the problems facing intra-European transport including congestion, environmental impact and investment programmes.
“That high speed rail is seen by key European decision-makers as a preferred alternative to air transport is more a result of doctrine than rational and transparent analyses.”
Ambrose said that both modes offered to transport within Europe “but the case for rail as the ‘preferred’ mode by policy-makers and transport planners can no longer be justified.”
He added: "I hope that this study will lead to a more constructive and balanced debate on the future of air and rail in Europe, and provide policy-makers with the evidence they need to promote air transport as an equal (and in some cases better) means of delivering enhanced future mobility for European citizens."