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Emergency award – 83.5 million euros for Westbahn traffic

In order to maintain rail traffic between Vienna and Salzburg even during the corona pandemic, the state-owned ÖBB and the mostly private Western Railway received special state support last year by means of a so-called emergency award from the Ministry of Transport. This state aid was extended again this year at the beginning of the year. In 2020, around 83.5 million euros in emergency awards for the western railway line were covered from the Covid-19 crisis management fund.

This figure was named in parliamentary correspondence on Thursday from a report by Transport and Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) on the financial measures from the Covid crisis management fund in the areas of innovation and technology, climate, environment and energy as well as mobility in the period from March 2020 to January 2021.

Without being commissioned by the Ministry, as reported several times, ÖBB and Westbahn would have had to cease or drastically restrict operations on the line with the first lockdown last year for economic reasons. By means of a state emergency award, the railways were able to maintain a reduced but regular train service.

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The revenue reductions of the federal railways (ÖBB) had a financial impact of 73.5 million euros on the fund in 2020, according to the broadcast. Rail Cargo Austria received an equity grant of 61 million euros.

A few more help: The research funding of the Climate and Energy Fund to promote innovations for decarbonisation was also endowed with 32 million euros.

In order to accelerate research in the fight against the corona virus, 25 million euros were made available for 47 projects in corona research, for example for clinical studies on the effects of therapeutics in companies based in Austria, as stated in the ministry’s report further means.

The grants from the aws startup aid fund for young, innovative companies, whose sales threaten to collapse during the crisis, were estimated at 12.2 million euros. The climate stimulus package for basic programs hit with 57 million euros. To promote solar and PV systems at the Climate and Energy Fund, the Ministry of Finance approved previous charges of 35 million euros from the Covid crisis management fund. (apa)

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