New roads on the green horizon
Increasing speed and efficiency of transport as a strategic sector facilitates growth of Europe's economy. However transforming the transport system became a pressing problem from several points of view. Congestion of roads, traffic jams and growing pollution made obvious the need in making changes in the system. The aim of the Marco Polo project is to reduce road transport and facilitate expansion of transport on inland waterways. This problem is a main element in the transport policy of the European Union expressed in the White Paper (Time to decide). Naturally, transport by vessels, inland waterways has its limits. The disadvantage of railways, inland waterways and sea is that they are unable to offer door-to-door service. However external costs generated by road transport shall be taken into account as well. Damage of the environment means high costs on a long term basis. Therefore Marco Polo was initiated having 450 Million EUR in its budget in the period of 2007-2013. Co-financing by the Marco Polo project is granted to those companies which transfer freight from road to rail or short-sea shipping routes or inland waterways. These possibilities given by nature shall be used as faster and environmentally more friendly modes of transport will be remunerative in a long term basis.