All new alterations for the Marco Polo program are based on doubts and even criticism from the private sector representatives, unhappy that, for example, they must wait almost a year before winning the designation of projects, that they are required to transfer a huge volume of traffic, that it is difficult to identify serious partners or that subsidies are given within too little time.
On 2009, launching the demand for projects is scheduled for this month, the deadline for the projects’ submission will be in March, and the list of projects accepted will be published in July. Regarding the need to take a huge volume of traffic, the Commission decided to double the subsidies up to 2 euros/500 tons-km taken over from the road transport. Also, the minimum traffic volumes that different types of projects should take over were reduced so as to advantage the beneficiaries of the SME category, not only giant state railway operators.
The money is allotted especially for subsidizing the operation of transport services, not for research or infrastructure. Beneficiaries may be partner companies (including those benefiting from state capital) in two or more EU member states plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, or even a Member State and a state neighboring the EU. Marco Polo support may be given for three main types of actions: modal shift actions, catalyst actions, motorways of the sea.