On 14 March, the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament approved, through an emergency procedure and final vote, the establishment of the Railway Reform Authority (ARF). Thus, the Draft Law on the approval of the Emergency Government Order no. 62/2016 on the establishment of the Railway Reform Authority.
The Authority’s new attributions also include “the establishment and the implementation of the measures necessary to concentrate the rail transport network on a network that could be efficiently managed by the railway infrastructure operator, as resulted from the efficiency strategy that will be elaborated for this specific purpose”.
“The procurement of the rolling stock dedicated to the provision of public rail transport services to be made available to services operators based only on procedures approved through the Decision of the Romanian Government on criteria of transparency and visibility that would ensure a competitive railway market”, is also one of the attributions of the new Railway Reform Authority.
The Romanian Ministry of Transport proposed the establishment of ARF considering the approval of the Romanian General Transport Master Plan which is one of the preceding conditions to benefit from funds from the budget allocated to Romania from the structural funds for rail transport infrastructure, according to the recitals.
Also, the Ministry of Transport motivated the ARF establishment decision keeping in mind that, according to the General Transport Master Plan, Romania has to implement the rail sector reform oriented on four action directions such as:
- Restructuring of the rail transport network to concentrate on an efficient transport network so that the allocation of funds for maintenance and capital repairs should be oriented towards an economically-sustainable rail transport network;
- Attribution of public service contracts so that the rail operation for public passenger transport should occur only based on tenders organised under the law for rail transport operators;
- Introduction of performance indicators to sustain the monitoring of legal public service contracts;
- Introduction of activity efficiency programmes for the rail sector, including for CFR SA, that should be implemented by a specialised structure organised under the authority of the Ministry of Transport.