Changes to the Local Government Roads Fund

Paulina Sudoł

The Act on the Local Government Roads Fund was adopted on 28 October 2018. The Local Government Roads Fund is an instrument of support for local government units, realizing investments on local government roads. On 10 September 2020, the Government draft act to amend the Act on the Local Government Roads Fund and certain other acts was sent for the first reading in the Polish Parliament (Sejm) in the Infrastructure Committee and the Commission of Local Government and Regional Policy.

Photo by: Marcin Jozwiak from Unsplash.

 

The main purpose of the creation of the Local Government Roads Fund (the Fund) was the necessity to undertake actions aimed at accelerating the creation of modern and safe local road infrastructure in Poland. The infrastructure would increase the economic and investment activity of the local government unit. Often investors decide to locate investments in a specific area due to convenient access. The creation of the Fund was also aimed at improving safety, according to the “safety first” principle.

The draft law provides for 3 main changes:

  1. Introduction to the catalog of tasks implemented under the Fund of “Ring Road tasks” and “Urban tasks”
  2. Increasing pedestrian safety in crosswalks
  3. Change of name to the Government Road Development Fund

The “Ring Road tasks” consist in building ring roads along voivodeship roads. The Fund supports these tasks because it is necessary to move away from the city centre of inefficient and polluting transit transport.

The development of road transport is increasing traffic in city centers. Drivers entering the cities during rush hour get into traffic jams and the citizens, due to the noise and produced exhaust fumes, are afraid for their health.

“City Tasks” consist in building, rebuilding or renovating local, district and voivodeship roads, which are managed by the Mayor of the city with the rights of a county, which is the seat of the voivode or the provincial assembly.

Co-financing of the construction, reconstruction or renovation of these roads is to be a response to the need, as postulated by the road managers, to co-finance investments in the largest cities, as well as a response to the deterioration of the economic situation of local government units resulting from the current epidemic. The SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic restricts road managers to introducing appropriate measures to improve the local road network.

The improvement of safety at crosswalks is also to be co-financed by the Fund. Unfortunately, despite the speed limits, there are still many accidents involving pedestrians. In 2018, over 7500 accidents involving pedestrians were recorded in Poland, of which over 800 were fatal.

The new tasks are to be financed with funds amounting to PLN 3 billion from the state budget.

In connection with the large amount of funding, it is proposed that the name of the Fund be changed to the Government Road Development Fund.