The European Commission is inviting proposals for a share of €1.9bn (£1.7bn) in funding being made available for key transport projects.

The money, which is being made available under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), includes €1.1bn earmarked for projects in member states that are eligible for financing from the EU Cohesion Fund. The funding is aimed at better integration of these countries into the internal market.

EU commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said: “The EU supports over 460 projects across the territory of the Member States contributing to better mobility and connectivity for European citizens and businesses. With this new call, we are giving more focus to intelligent transport systems across Europe and to infrastructure development in the cohesion states. The Commission is committed to building the transport network of the future while providing to keep countries and regions united.”

This year’s calls for proposals continue to focus on innovative transport to improve safety and environmental performance, increase efficiency and build cross-border connections. For the first time, a specific priority (provided for with €110m) addresses smaller cross-border designed to help bring regions closer together and enhance their accessibility.

‘Although we have been investing a lot in improving transport infrastructure, there is underinvestment in many smaller cross-border sections, and bottlenecks and missing links remain,’ said Michael Cramer, chair of the transport and tourism committee of the European Parliament.’I therefore welcome the new Commission initiative to scale up support for smaller cross-border projects and in particular railway connections, to help develop local and regional transport infrastructure stimulating development of border regions.”

Raffaele Cattaneo, president of the Lombardia Region Council and chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy of the European Committee of the Regions, added: “Funding small-scale cross-border infrastructure shows that Europe cares about the everyday life of hundreds of thousands of citizens and workers. It requires limited resources but can have a big impact on territorial cohesion and help our common market to work properly. This call is an encouraging step also with a view to the discussion on investment for missing links within the next EU budget.’

Overall, the calls make €840m available to all 28 member states for cross-border infrastructure projects and for projects covering innovation and new technologies and traffic management systems. Of this amount, €40m will be dedicated to infrastructure projects to connect with neighbouring countries.

The “cohesion” money (€1.1bn, available to 15 member states) will add key infrastructure projects on the TEN-T core network in sustainable transport modes. Support will be granted on a competitive basis in the form of EU co-financing, following a thorough evaluation and selection process.