EU pledges $620 million for railroad technology



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AMSTERDAM (AP) - The executive arm of the European Union says it will give 450 million euros ($620 million) to a research program trying to develop new railroad technologies by 2020.

The European Commission said in a statement Monday it will fund the program, together with companies active in the railway industry including Siemens, Thales, Alstom, and others. The private companies are to fund a matching amount but have so far pledged only 270 million euros.

The program has targets for designing better trains, developing traffic management software, improving track infrastructure, and improving connections between freight and other modes of transport.

The European rail system is considered one of the world's best, and European companies are the largest supplier of rail services and products globally, but they fear Asian competition.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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