The Conseil d’Etat approves the changes made to “CDG Express” airport rail link project
On 31 March 2017, the préfets (local authorities) for northern Paris declared the “CDG Express” airport rail link project between Paris and Charles-de-Gaulle airport, which had been modified from its initial 2008 version, to be of public utility.
One municipality, three NGOs and several individuals requested that the Conseil d’Etat quash this new declaration of public utility.
In today’s judgment, the Conseil d’Etat rejected their applications. The judges ruled that the decision was adopted under regular conditions and that the modified project is of public utility.
Facts and relevant procedure
The project of an airport rail link named “CDG Express” between Paris and the Charles-de-Gaulle airport was declared to be of public utility by a local government decision on 19 December 2008, paving the way for the necessary expropriations. The decision opened a 5-year period to carry out those expropriations. On 2 December 2013, a second decision extended this period by another 5 years.
The legal and financial package subsequently changed, however, which required a new public consultation on the project.
On 31 March 2017, a new local government decision declared that the revised project remained of public utility.
The municipality of Mitry-Mory, three associations and several individuals requested that the Conseil d’Etat quash this new declaration of public utility.
The judgement delivered today by the Conseil d’État
Today’s judgement rejects these applications.
Firstly, the Conseil d’Etat rules that the procedure leading to the adoption of the declaration of public utility was legal. This includes, in particular, the new public consultation that took place in June and July 2016. The judges noted that the consultation document was sufficiently detailed and had correctly been updated to take into account both the substantial changes to the project and the significant evolutions of the context.
Secondly, the Conseil d’Etat acknowledges the public utility of the project. This project will improve the access to Paris-CDG international airport, which is Europe’s second airport, by providing a direct, fast and punctual rail link from the city centre. It thus fosters local economic development by contributing the competitiveness of Paris and its region. The Conseil d’Etat also notes that the projected airport rail link will form part of a more environmentally friendly development by reducing the use of road transportation. Therefore, even though the cost of the project has been revised upwards, its advantages still outweigh its disadvantages.