Where is the money promised by the Hungarian government?
The aid announced by the Hungarian government to help the rail freight industry has not been implemented yet. The government proposed a 40 per cent reduction of track access charges on the national railway network. However, no updates have been given since 1 November, according to the Hungarian railway association HUNGRAIL.
HUNGRAIL has expressed its worries, claiming that, if these delays keep lingering, rail freight operations may be endangered. According to them, the sector already faces additional costs of almost 60 million euros due to the increase in energy prices in 2022. The association highlighted the importance of state aid by claiming that electricity prices went from being 7 per cent of the total cost to reaching almost one-third of it.
The measure proposed by the government
The financial aid from the Hungarian government would be implemented by removing the track access charges surcharge. Track access charges in Hungary is made of a standard charge plus an additional surcharge. According to David Vitezy, the State Secretary of Transport at the Ministry of Technology, the surcharge amounted to 40 per cent of the total cost. This surcharge is an additional fee the infrastructure manager is allowed to collect to finance other aspects of the network.
The plan for compensation for rail freight companies was to compensate them with the income it has generated by trading carbon dioxide quotas. “Countries and companies receive a quota for the amount of greenhouse gasses they can emit. If they emit less, they can sell the difference to others who emit more”, Vitezy said.