An interesting report by the European Court of Auditors (who knew Europe had a “court of auditors”?): Are EU Cohesion Policy funds well spent on roads?.
The EU spends a lot of money transferring resources between member states (cohesion funds). Much of that is spent on roads (a surprisingly large amount in Poland). This report compares proposals with results. Most roads under-performed traffic forecasts.
From the report:
- The road projects audited partly achieved the intended results
- … but their impact on economic development could not be assessed …
- … and most of them delivered less than the planned return on investment …
- … while clearly improving road safety and helping to save travelling time
- Enhanced transport capacity could have been achieved at lower cost
- The road projects mainly followed the most economical road alignment
- Traffic forecasts were in the majority of cases not in line with actual road use
- Costs per user vary significantly
- Express roads were clearly less costly to build than motorways
- The best possible price was not obtained for all audited projects
- Significant cost differences for road accessories and bridge decks
- Cost overruns of more than 20 % for 11 projects