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Multi-level governance of large transport infrastructures: efficiency or transparency?



The present paper analyses the Multi-level Governance issue for large transport infrastructures relevant at European level. The focus is put on the activities occurring before the infrastructure implementation, which are identified as the decision making-process. This is commonly a long and complex procedure involving a variety of stakeholders at different levels and a variety of corresponding interests and objectives. This procedure should ensure that the effects the project will generate are assessed taking into account all the stakeholders concerned (transparency) and, at the same time, it should avoid paralysis or delays caused by excessive discussions (efficiency). Five major transport projects have been examined to investigate the main features of the decision-making process, to capture the differences occurring between projects belonging to different countries and to understand how the process may influence the project’s economic performance. All selected projects have both a supranational and national relevance, because they have been included in a Master Plan at national level, but are also part of the Trans-European Transport Network. Evidence from selected cases highlighted that projects belonging to the same country follow very similar processes. This is particularly evident in the German and French cases, where national standard procedures are established in advance by the transport planning authority. When country-specific decision-making processes exist, these tend to ensure that the project-financing decision is taken when all the project’s promoters have been consulted and when the requested information and analyses have been undertaken and submitted. This tendency can, however, lead to a lengthening of the process and delays in the infrastructure’s implementation, which have a negative effect on the investment cost. On the contrary, in the case of projects belonging to two or more countries, no homogeneous procedure is followed and the duplication of tasks and entities (in order to have all countries controlling the process) makes the project management rather difficult.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Sartori, 2008. "Multi-level governance of large transport infrastructures: efficiency or transparency?," Working Papers 200909, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:mst:wpaper:200909

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    Cited by:

    1. Ales S. Berk & Dejan Podhraski, 2018. "Superiority of Monte Carlo simulation in valuing real options within public–private partnerships," Risk Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(1), pages 1-28, February.
    2. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Arne Feddersen, 2010. "From periphery to core: economic adjustments to high speed rail," Working Papers 2010/38, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item


    Multi-level Governance; decision-making process; transport;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General


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