Minister of Transport for two years, the new head of government Elisabeth Borne impressed her interlocutors with her seriousness and her knowledge of the issues, even though her rail reform remains criticized.

At the time CEO of the RATP and marked on the left, Ms. Borne joined Emmanuel Macron’s team in May 2017 at the Ministry of Transport. She will remain there until July 2019 and will continue to take an interest in the sector after her promotion to the Ecological Transition – the supervision of Transport – until her arrival at the Ministry of Labor in July 2020.

Its main feat of arms is the adoption of the railway reform in 2018, with the transformation of the SNCF into a limited company with public capital, the preparation for the arrival of competition and the end of hiring with the status of railwayman.

“She’s a techno, she has a perfect knowledge of the files, we were pleasantly surprised by her knowledge of railway subjects”, comments Fabien Dumas, federal secretary Sud-Rail.

The trade unionist remembers his meetings at the ministry. “She was there in person. We said to ourselves, here is someone who is listening! But the social dialogue Borne way is I receive you, I listen to you but I don’t care, “says- he.

The trade unionists to whom an AFP journalist spoke all blame him for this lack of negotiation, in favor of a “consultation” which did not allow them to stop him. And Ms. Borne bravely went to the conflict, passing her text despite three months of strike.

The reform itself is regularly criticized. Again recently by the chairman of the Transport Regulatory Authority (ART) Bernard Roman, the former CEO of SNCF Réseau, Patrick Jeantet, or a senatorial report, which consider in particular that the public manager of the railways, which has become a subsidiary of the SNCF, should be truly independent of the railway company.

Another great achievement of Ms Borne for Transport: the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM), a kind of “toolbox” essentially intended for local authorities, which includes in particular the creation of low emission zones (ZFE), the opening of data, means allowing the development of new forms of mobility, etc.

“The LOM also includes an important institutional component, with the reform of the competences of the communities” in terms of transport, recalls a former collaborator. “It was a big piece, and (Ms. Borne) negotiated a lot with elected officials.”

With in fact a taste of unfinished business in the small world of public transport, since the minister had pointed out in 2017 the problem of “forgotten populations of mobility”, dependent on their cars in suburban and rural areas. Those who later provided battalions of “yellow vests”. However, nothing, or almost nothing, has been done for them.

“She did the maximum with the LOM, but there was not the money that goes with it”, regrets a regional official, wondering what she could do now that she will be at the head of the government, with authority over Bercy.

Another regret: Elisabeth Borne wanted a real programming of infrastructures, financing at the key. A list of projects has indeed been appended to the LOM, but the priority given to renovating what already exists and to daily travel has been undermined by the announcement of the construction of new high-speed lines and the relaunch of road projects at the end of Emmanuel Macron’s first term.

On the road side, moreover, it has calmed the appetites of motorway companies which offered investments in exchange for an extension of their concessions.

We can cite, among the other achievements of Ms. Borne, the “bicycle plan”, the announcement of the end of thermal for cars in 2040, the adoption of a more realistic timetable for the CDG Express and the Grand Paris, progress on the working conditions of truck drivers in Europe, an eco-tax on plane tickets, the stopping of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project near Nantes and the abandonment of the motorway A45 between Lyon and Saint-Etienne.

His desire to make trucks pay to finance the national roads they use and damage have not materialized.

05/18/2022 14:47:57 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP