The Government’s plan for infrastructure – how we build Sweden strong and sustainable
The Government has adopted a national plan for infrastructure for the period 2018–2029. It is a total investment of SEK 700 billion and the largest railway investment in modern times. The plan covers major investments in both new construction and restoration and modernisation of existing infrastructure. The decision also covers significant investments in maritime transport infrastructure and roads. This is made possible due to the Government investing SEK 100 billion more than in the previous plan period.
"We are now making the largest investment in railway of modern times. Investments in building our society and building Sweden strong and sustainable, we take precedence over tax cuts. Sweden must have a modern railway network, with trains that run on time throughout the country," says Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth.
The new national plan is a step towards the transition to a fossil-free welfare state an increase in housing construction and improved conditions for business.
"Now we finally prioritise people who choose climate-smart transport. We make this investment so that the trains can run on time throughout the country and more people can commute sustainably," says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin.
Historic investment of SEK 700 billion
In total, SEK 622.5 billion will be invested. An additional SEK 90 billion will come from congestion charges, track access charges and co-financing.
The SEK 622.5 billion will be distributed as follows:
• SEK 125 billion for operation and maintenance of state-owned railways
• SEK 164 billion for operation and maintenance of state-owned roads
• SEK 333.5 billion for the development of the transport system
The Government is pursuing a very ambitious policy concerning the climate, employment and housing. This historic investment in the railways will contribute to all areas mentioned above. The selected railway investment objects amount to a total of SEK 148 billion, which is an increase of 32 per cent compared with the previous plan period. This means that 77 per cent of the total funds for the selected objects of SEK 193 billion go to railway objects.
For the selected investments, i.e. those objects that cost more than SEK 100 million, approximately SEK 193 billion will be distributed during the plan period. The selected investments are found in Annex 1.
The plan contains major investments to develop the railway system and increase capacity. Among other things, the North Bothnia Line between Umeå and Skellefteå is to begin during the plan period, but the Government is also ensuring that the South-East Link between Älmhult and the Blekinge coastal line, west of Karlshamn, can be expanded and modernised. The Government is also increasing the investments on the double-track expansion along the East Coast Line between Gävle and Kringlan by SEK 1.7 billion compared with the proposal from the Swedish Transport Administration. The Government is increasing the investment in measures for long freight trains by SEK 393 million compared to the proposal from the Swedish Transport Administration.
The Government is multiplying the investments in fairways and locks compared to the preceding plan. The Government is now allocating funds for the important deepening of the fairways at the Port of Gothenburg. This investment, together with the other shipping measures in the plan – completion of the ongoing work on the locks at Södertälje and the fairways in Mälaren, modernisation of the locks in Trollhättan and improved fairways to Luleå and between Landsort and Södertälje, to name the largest – will reduce transport costs, increase maritime safety and reduce emissions as they promote the transfer of goods transport from roads to railways and shipping.
Separated oncoming traffic lanes on roads with low safety standards provide major traffic safety benefits, which means that speed limits can normally be retained, thereby securing accessibility and passable roads. Examples of major investments to improve safety on the national road network include separated oncoming traffic lanes on most of the remaining stretches of the E4 between Hudiksvall and Luleå, on the E20 between Örebro and Gothenburg, and on several sections of the E10 in Norrbotten.
Operation and maintenance of state-owned railways
The appropriation for operation and maintenance of railways will increase by 47 per cent in the coming plan period compared with the previous plan, which will have a major effect on the status of current rail infrastructure. Among the largest reinvestments in railways, to mention a few Sävenäs railway yard in Gothenburg, the Getingmidjan in central Stockholm and measures on the Värmland Line between Laxå and Kil and the Viskadal Line between Borås and Varberg.
Operation and maintenance of roads
Having functioning road transport throughout the country that promotes regional growth and good living conditions is an important issue for the Government. The Government has therefore increased the appropriation for road maintenance in the coming plan and has already carried out targeted investments in road maintenance in rural areas. Continued operational grants for private roads will be a further important measure to also enable the maintenance of good passability on the less used road networks. To also secure and improve roads for heavy vehicles, the appropriation for load-bearing capacity and frost protection will increase. Measures will be initiated to enable the opening of a road network with class 4 load-bearing capacity. In this way, we are strengthening the business sector, securing jobs and increasing Sweden's competitiveness.
Among the major reinvestments and maintenance measures on the state-owned road network, to mention a few measures on bridges, including route 137 across the Öland bridge, E6.20 across the Tjörn bridge, route 222 across the Skuru bridges in Nacka and the bridges across the Kalix river at Kalix.
Fine-tuning and environmental measures
The plan also includes fine-tuning and environmental measures. Each individual measure costs a maximum of SEK 100 million. A total of SEK 35.4 billion will be used for fine-tuning and environmental measures that develop and improve the existing transport infrastructure. These measures will be planned and decided by the Swedish Transport Administration during the plan period. To strengthen accessibility throughout Sweden, and at the same time increase the possibility of meeting the intermediate target for traffic safety on roads, during the period 2019–2022 the Swedish Transport Administration will distribute up to SEK 1 billion for co-financing of county plans concerning traffic safety measures on the regional road network.
The plan also contains several measures targeting the less used railway network. These include several selected reinvestments and a selected investment that together amount to SEK 7 billion, as well as minor planned reinvestments and minor yet unspecified fine-tuning investments.
Metropolitan agreements (National Negotiation on Housing and Infrastructure)
The Government has set aside more than SEK 4 billion in the national plan for co-financing during the plan period of measures agreed by the National Negotiation on Housing and Infrastructure with the relevant municipalities and regions. There are several public transport objects in the three metropolitan regions, for example light railways, railways, underground railways, cable cars and Bus Rapid Transit, and large numbers of new cycle paths. The municipalities for their part have committed to construct a total of 193 130 housing units.
Urban environment agreements
The Government has set aside a total of SEK 12 billion during the plan period for urban environment agreements. This means that central government will co-finance municipal and regional investments in infrastructure for public transport and cycling. There is no fixed allocation between the modes of transport, but it can be mentioned that in the last round almost half of the distributed funds went to the cycling measures and half to the public transport measures.
Examples of measures in the national plan proposal that contribute to increased housing construction are the National Negotiation on Housing and Infrastructure agreements with municipalities in the three metropolitan regions on central government co-financing of investments in public transport and cycling. In total, the municipalities have committed to constructing 193 130 housing units.
Furthermore, the four-track expansion between Uppsala and the county border with Stockholm is the measure that enables the construction of most housing units. In addition to hugely improved capacity, the expansion also enables the construction of new stations in an area with high demand for new housing. Both Uppsala and Knivsta municipalities have considerable plans for housing construction around these new stations, involving an estimated 50 000 new housing units. Among the investments that each can contribute with between 1 000 and 10 000 housing units, it is worth to mention the tunnel under Varberg for the West Coast Line and the double track on the East Coast Line between Gävle and Kringlan.
New main lines for high-speed trains
The Government's objective is to complete new main lines for high-speed trains so that Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö become better connected, with modern and sustainable transport with shorter travel times that promote a clear transfer of travel from airplanes to trains. Expansion will take place at a pace allowed by the economy and in a cost-effective manner.
The expansion will be based on the each of the three terminuses. The national plan for 2018–2029 includes the stretches Järna–Linköping (Eastern Link), Lund–Hässleholm and beyond the Swedish Transport Administration's proposal, also Gothenburg–Borås with SEK 3.7 billion.
The Government intend to initiate a dialogue with the Norwegian Government regarding development of the cross-border routes that the Swedish Transport Administration describes as the Stockholm-Oslo, Gothenburg-Oslo and Malmbanan and Ofoten Line. The Government sees a need for the countries to jointly examine how the railway connections on the routes mentioned can be strengthened. The National Negotiation on Housing and Infrastructure has proposed continued bilateral cooperation between Denmark and Sweden through the drafting of a strategic analysis for a new permanent link across the Öresund sound between Helsingborg and Helsingør, and that the Government allocate a sum equivalent to DKK 5 million for conducting the analysis during the period 2018–2020. The Government considers that a strategic analysis will improve the state of knowledge for the future, and will allocate funds equivalent to DKK 5 million for that purpose during the period 2018–2020.
Analysis of shortcomings
The Swedish Transport Administration should continue to examine the routes, nodes or equivalent described in Annex 2. This work should aim to ensure that these routes, nodes or equivalent are sufficiently examined and can be considered during the next planning round and plan revision.