Betuweroute, image: ProRail

‘Dutch government must borrow money, invest in infrastructure’

Dutch logistics lobby firm TLN is calling upon the government to invest more in its infrastructure. And not only in road, but also in rail- and waterways. “We need to think about the mobility of the Netherlands as a whole”, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Tuesday 17 September the Netherlands is celebrating Prinsjesdag, when the government announces its budget for the coming year. It is within this context that TLN is asking the cabinet to free up additional money for infrastructure. Until 2040, the cabinet should reserve an additional 3 billion euros each year for this purpose.. Otherwise, freight and passenger transport will come to a standstill, TLN warns.

Congestion untenable

“The shortage on the road today causes many problems: traffic jams alone cause 1 billion euros in economic damage in freight transport alone. We need to do more now to prevent our country from getting stuck”, says TLN President Elisabeth Post. “It will only become more congested on Dutch roads in the coming years. If you do nothing, it will become untenable.

“Until 2030, freight transport will continue to grow by a maximum of 19 percent and passenger transport by a maximum of 20 percent, signals the Mobility Alliance, of which TLN is a part. “We can absorb part of that growth with smart measures such as hubs on the outskirts of the city and a kilometer charge for everyone, but updating our infrastructure is an essential link.”

TLN asks the cabinet not only to invest in roads, but also in railways and waterways. “Because we have to make optimum use of all modes of transport,” says Post. “What does not necessarily have to be done by road, for example, can be done by rail or inland waterway, if only for parts of the route. That gives space on the road.

Money is available

According to TLN, the government is in a good position at the moment to loan additional money for the investments. “We are in such a good state debt and budget deficit that the Netherlands can easily borrow money to make much-needed investments. The interest rate is negative, so the Dutch state would even receive money on those loans. I would therefore not find it strange if the government borrows extra money, which deposits into a fund in order to invest in infrastructure, as the government is already considering, according to the media”, says Post.

Investments are essential to hold the economic wind, Post believes. “With factors such as the trade war between the US and China, the upcoming Brexit and less positive economic figures from Germany, investments in the Dutch economy are needed to prevent a downward economic spiral. The Dutch economy is still growing and we are very happy with that. Let us try to keep it that way. Let us give the economy with much-needed support the targeted investment.”

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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