SNCF is costing French taxpayers dearly

A study, echoed by BFM Business, notes that the company cost 249 euros per French, even before buying any train ticket.

SNCF, a juggernaut that costs French taxpayers dearly. And the bill increased further in 2020, compared to 2018. This is the finding of a study carried out by the Fipeco site, under the direction of the former magistrate of the Court of Auditors François Écalle, and that BFM Business relay Thursday January 6. Even before buying a train ticket, the railway company cost each taxpayer around 250 euros in 2020. An amount that can be explained by the construction and maintenance needs of the SNCF network, but which also includes the special social security scheme for railway workers, financed by the State and the regions.

In 2020, according to the study, the annual cost of the company would have reached 16.7 billion euros. Divided by the number of French taxpayers, this sum corresponds to an individual cost of 249 euros per capita. In detail, the operating costs of the company are borne 40% by taxpayers, or around 9 billion euros, via the state and regional authorities, specifies BFM Business. In addition, there are public subsidies which finance part of SNCF’s investments. Funding that represented around 4.5 billion euros in 2020, according to Fipeco.

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Ile-de-France Mobilités as well as the regions have paid some 6.7 billion euros to the company to be able to fully exploit its transport, while the State has paid 2.3 billion euros. The latter also paid a balancing subsidy to the special pension scheme for railway workers, which represents 3.2 billion euros. It is by adding all of these data that Fipeco arrives at the total sum of 16.7 billion euros in public money. An amount that has increased since the last study conducted by the site, notes the economic news channel. In 2018, Fipeco reported that the cost of SNCF for taxpayers was 14.4 billion euros, or about 215 euros per person.

Why do these costs continue to increase? According to François Écalle’s comments at BFM Business, the explanation lies in the lack of maintenance, over time, of local networks and TER for the benefit of the development of high-speed lines. “Today, we pay it because the maintenance of these urban networks costs a lot more than if we had done this work ten or fifteen years earlier,” he says.

Why do these costs continue to increase? According to François Écalle’s comments at BFM Business, the explanation lies in the lack of maintenance, over time, of local networks and TER for the benefit of the development of high-speed lines. “Today, we pay it because the maintenance of these urban networks costs a lot more than if we had done this work ten or fifteen years earlier,” he says.