Forum. Contrary to what we sometimes read in the press, the debt train has not always existed. Until the early 1970s, prior to the turn commercial the SNCF, the balance of the accounts of the company was insured by an annual appropriation passed by the Parliament in the name of public services rendered to the nation and its citizens.
During the decades after the war, the public investments were substantial, justified by the economic and social utility of the railways. But, in an effort to reduce public spending, the government of Chaban-Delmas and the following have led the SNCF to behave ” like a real company “. The annual revenue is lower than spending, deficits are accumulated, and generated a debt of several tens of billions of euros.
The strategic direction of the SNCF, of course, are not devoid of flaws, but focus on the internal management of the company helps to erase the liability of public authorities in the excesses of the past few decades. Rather than forcing SNCF to make loans or engage in public-private partnerships (PPPS), the State could choose to take on the development of high-speed lines by investments on public budgets.
Such has not been the policy of successive governments that, to comply with the Maastricht criteria, have chosen to delegate the funding of the sector to the station (and previously at réseau ferré de France). Such a choice has consequences : a study of the consulting firm Degest estimated that out of every 100 euros of borrowing on the financial markets, only 41 euros used to finance the rail network, 59 euros disappearing in the financial intermediation ! As the transformation project of the SNCF into a limited company, it would significantly increase the level of borrowing rates.
A foundation forgotten : the solidarismo
The report Spinetta,…