Woman standing in front of a bypassing bus

The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, explained that the program approved by the Council of Ministers this Thursday “merges and reformulates existing support programs” for passenger transport.

This Thursday, January 18, the Council of Ministers approved the creation of the Incentiva+TP program, with funding of 410 million euros, with the aim of encouraging the use of public transport and increasing the autonomy and equity of transport authorities.

The creation of this program is included in the State Budget for 2024 (OE2024), approved by the Assembly of the Republic in November last year, and this Thursday the government approved the decree-law that establishes the legal framework for Incentiva+TP.

At the briefing after the Council of Ministers, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, explained that this program “merges and reformulates the existing support programs” (PART and PROTransP) and is aimed at transport authorities, namely Inter-municipal Communities and Metropolitan Areas.

“It simplifies the application of the different supports, concentrating them in a single mechanism. It ensures that transport authorities have more equity and autonomy in developing measures to promote public transport. In other words, it gives them more flexibility as to where the funding goes,” he explained.

In summary, the Minister for the Environment stressed that this program allows support for fare reductions “for those who have a large proportion of transport users”, the expansion of supply, as well as interface improvements.

“In other words, the range of possibilities for financing this program is broadened,” the minister stressed, indicating that it will be financed through the Environmental Fund and will use a percentage of the funds from the “Co2 emissions surcharge”.

Duarte Cordeiro said that with these changes, the program will go from 260 million euros, “the sum of all the components”, to an amount in the 2024 budget of 410 million euros.

“In order to guarantee continuity in the future, it is established in this law that, at the very least, it is guaranteed that the amount to be transferred from one year to the next is at least identical to the amount of the previous year, with the respective update rate,” he said.

Municipalities continue to contribute

The government official also indicated that municipalities will continue to be obliged to fund this program, but that “equity criteria will be introduced to strengthen the regions of the country with less public transport”.

“On the one hand, the number of public transport users and the average time spent traveling will be taken into account. On the other hand, we’re going to take into account the so-called share of public transport use,” he said.

In this sense, Duarte Cordeiro explained that “when a region’s public transport quota is very low, there is a subsidy for that territory and less funding from the municipalities”.

“When public transport quotas are higher, there is obviously a smaller subsidy and a greater contribution from the municipalities in those territories. There is a mechanism to make this system more equitable,” he argued.

Initially, the report that accompanied the SB2024 proposal included a sum of 360 million euros, but a PS proposal was subsequently approved in the specialty, allowing this allocation to be increased by 50 million euros.

In the explanatory note, the PS pointed out that the proposal “includes the amount necessary to guarantee compensation to transport authorities and public transport operators” for the freezing of the price of passes this year compared to 2023.

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