The Court of Auditors denounces French high-speed off-tracking and suggests reducing the number of towns served while renouncing any new project. The problem has been ill-defined given the challenges to be met.
Successfully achieve the energy transition to make real savings: The energy transition inevitably entails a massive modal shift from road and air to rail. After the residential sector, transport is the sector that consumes most energy in France. Most of the energy consumed in transport comes from petroleum derivatives, which must be imported. Therefore, transport is largely responsible for the bulk of the country's energy bill, of which 82% is attributable to petrol (50 billion out of a total of 61.4 billion) and which, in 2011, represented 88% of France's trade deficit (General commissioner for sustainable development).
Road represents 80.6% of energy consumed by transport, followed by air transport (12.6%) maritime and inland waterway transport (5%) and rail transport (1.7%). In France, transport represents over one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and more than 35% of CO2 emissions, not including international maritime and air transport. Investment in the new lines therefore overcomes a dual economic and environmental issue.
The positive impact of the new lines on the environment as depicted above: In addition, the Court of Auditors disputes the positive contribution of the TGV to the environment once the construction of the line is incorporated, which increases the carbon footprint, arguing that it would take 12 years for the line to become carbon neutral after it has been commissioned. Given that it is an infrastructure designed to last for a century, this puts the comment into perspective...
A new line must be able to accommodate interregional services when the density of traffic allows it, and be at the service of a territorial project in order to strengthen its utility to the community: Thus, the Poitiers-Limoges project has been denounced, but the technostructure never wanted to consider its integration in the Via Atlantica, this European East-West rail axis intended to provide a balanced railway framework for the continent. Similarly it did not want to consider using the new line for the TRIA (Fast Intercity trains) services on the Limoges-Poitiers-Niort-La Rochelle and Limoges-Poitiers-Nantes/Rennes, or even Limoges-Poitiers-Bordeaux routes, with suitable rolling stock like that which the Brittany and Pays de Loire regions are going to use on the Rennes-Laval -Angers link, which will partly use the Brittany-Pays de la Loire LGV for interregional connections. By participating in the Via Atlantica, Poitiers-Limoges will help structure a Brittany-Aquitaine-Rhône-Alpes triangle of growth.
Fraud puts a strain on the TGV's profitability: Today, the SNCF is lamenting a shortfall, due to fraud, of close to 300 to 500 million euros, of which at least 100 million is for the Major Lines, of which the TGV constitutes the largest part, according to Alain Le Vern, Director of Regions and Intercity Networks of the SNCF (Le Parisien of 14/09/14).
There is a need for a new economic model concerning the exploitation of new lines, so it is not the TGV that has run out of steam, but rather it is the model that has not evolved since the commissioning of the first TGV in 1981.