INVESTMENT IN TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE AS A CRUCIAL FACTOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN THE NEW EU MEMBER STATES – THE POLISH CASE

Urszula Grzyb, Piotr Zenon Trzepacz

Abstract


Transport infrastructure, if well-developed and regularly updated, is one of the most important factors of economic growth of the country and regions. Article shows relations between investment in surface transport infrastructure and stimulation of entrepreneurship, it also demonstrates the crucial role played by European Structural Funds in the improvement of infrastructure. During the systemic transformation, Poland and other countries of the former communist block received an opportunity to refurbish their economic and social landscape. Thanks to European structural funds in 2004 – 2006 and 2007 – 2013 periods, preceded by pre-accession funds, Poland achieved a notable economic success, surpassing many expectations. Investment in the infrastructure allowed for improvement in all walks of life.

The progress in socio-economic indicators seen during the systemic transformation in Poland and other New Member States was overwhelmingly due to assistance in the form of EU funding, which flooded into those countries on unprecedented scale.

Article looks at conditions for development of the transport infrastructure in Poland and attempts to provide answers to questions on the nature of relationship between the transport infrastructure and its crucial end users: entrepreneurs.

This paper aims to:

  1. demonstrate that investment in transport infrastructure is the key to improve the role of entrepreneurship in the development of a country and a region, and relations between the number of businesses and the quality and spatial prominence of the transport infrastructure;
  2. answer the questions:  which instruments on the national and European level support the process of improvements to infrastructure and consequent better access of businesses to markets.

Method adopted in the research involved questionnaires. Entrepreneurs responded to questions concerning their activity and its dependence on proximity of the motorway and neighboring local transportation networks. The second method of research was statistical data received from the Polish Statistical Office about the number of enterprises and proximity of available infrastructure.

The main finding of the research is that the development of small and medium enterprises is not overwhelmingly dependent on the proximity of a highway. The larger the investment in regional transport infrastructure, less so motorways (often toll roads) and more national, regional and local roads, the more visible are financial and economic outcomes achieved by SMEs.

Regional and national level planning documents acknowledge that the present day quality of transport infrastructure leaves a lot of room for improvement and actions should be taken to address this issue in short time horizon, if Poland is to have a cohesive transport infrastructure on par with the rest of EU. Creating good infrastructural conditions is the most important factor to create a favorable environment for entrepreneurship.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.6.1511


Keywords


Entrepreneurship; SMEs; localization decisions; motorways; local transportation networks; infrastructure impact; cooperation networks; EU New Member States; European Structural Funds

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Print ISSN: 1822-8402
Online ISSN: 2335-8831