The future LGV Toulouse-Bordeaux and Bordeaux-Dax have their steering committee, their supervisory board, but some doubts still remain about the financing of this huge project, known as the “great project of the South-West”. Monday July 4, at the end of a long four-hour meeting in Toulouse, the coordinating prefect, Etienne Guyot, gave an update on these new lines which would put Toulouse one hour from Bordeaux and three from Paris, compared to more four hours now.
“A day to mark with a white stone” for the socialist president of the Occitanie region, Carole Delga, appointed for two years as president of the supervisory committee. “A victory after years of fighting” for the mayor Les Républicains (LR) of Toulouse, Jean-Luc Moudenc. “The demonstration that opponents of the project are lying to our fellow citizens and that these lines will be ecological models and a future popular success”according to Alain Rousset, president (Socialist Party) of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Estimated at 14.3 billion euros, with funding planned to be 40% by the State, 40% by local authorities and 20% by the European Union, construction sites should begin at the end of 2023 for commissioning. in 2032 at the latest. In total, there are 327 kilometers of new tracks to be created, coupled with the deployment of an urban RER in Toulouse. “The LGV is a necessity to respond to demographic and economic development, accompanied by a reinforcement of the daily trains that are the TER”, defends Ms. Delga. Citing the decongestion of the Toulouse, Agen and Montauban stations, she also insisted on “a global network, accompanied by freight transport, which perfectly meets current ecological challenges”.
Questions about European funding
In the presence of the twenty-five local authorities concerned, the meeting was intended above all to reassure on funding, and in particular on the participation of the European Union. On June 29, the Commission announced that it had not withheld funding for environmental studies for the major Southwest project. According to the chair of the transport committee in the European Parliament, the environmentalist Karima Delli, who is opposed to the project, there are “alternatives, based on established lines” in order to “significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the project”.
Can this call into question community funding? That “does not prejudge the future”replies Mr. Guyot. “We will apply for other calls for tenders”, assures Carole Delga. In the meantime, the great South-West project comes a long way. If Emmanuel Macron almost completely buried the project in 2017, Jean Castex relaunched it in 2020 and for the moment, the project is continuing.