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Maintenance of national and departmental roads

COUR DES COMPTES

At around 1.1 million km, the French road network (one of the longest and densest in Europe) is largely managed by local authorities – almost 380,000 km by the departments and over 700,000 km by the towns and cities. This distribution follows several waves of decentralisation towards the departments, of which the implementation of the law on differentiation, decentralisation, deconcentration and various measures to simplify local public-sector work (known as the “3Ds”), adopted in February 2022, is intended to be a continuation. Implementation of this partial transfer of the national road network, which places a great deal of emphasis on negotiation between local and central government, and indeed between local authorities, will increase the fragmentation of jurisdiction over the road network. In particular, a new category of local authority - in this case regional governments - is likely to become a network operator. In the report published today, the Court of Auditors points out that, overall, France is moving towards a complex model, which is quite rare in Europe, without this transformation having given rise to any real deliberation on the new role of central government in road policy.

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