from this: Britta Johnson
MIDDLEBURG – Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Harpers and Zeeland’s Deputy van der Maas have reached an agreement to make the West Scheldt tunnel toll-free by 2025, at least for passenger traffic. It fulfills a long-held wish of many Zeelanders.
“The government is committing 140 million euros to make the tunnel free of charge as soon as possible,” the province said on Monday. ‘These deals were officially finalized on Monday with the signing of the management agreement.’
Van der Maas talks about good deals with the government. ‘This is good news for Zeelanders who have spent a lot of money over the years driving the tunnel. The toll-free Western Sheld Tunnel is a major boost to Zeeland’s quality of life and economy. I am determined to build a toll-free tunnel for freight too.’
It is intended to make up for 140 million euros in missed toll revenue from the government. ‘If you were paid, this amount would cover lost income until 2030.’
Agreements have also been made for the period 2030 – 2033. ‘By making the subway toll-free for passenger cars and motorcycles, an important step has now been taken towards a completely toll-free subway. Money is not yet available to build a toll-free tunnel for freight traffic. However, the National Government and the Province of Zealand have agreed to make efforts to address this issue in the future.’
West Scheldt Tunnel
The Western Scheldt Tunnel opened in 2003 and connects Zuid-Beveland with Zeeuws-Vlaanderen for road transport. Till then it was only connected with car ferry service. These were thrown away when the tunnel opened. The West Scheldt Tunnel is the only link between the islands and is therefore important for access within Zeeland. The tunnel is operated by NV Vesterscheldenel. When it opened in 2003, NV was mostly owned by the government. Since July 1, 2009, the province of Zeeland has been the only partner. The construction of the tunnel was funded for 30 years till 2033 on the basis of tolls.
The desire to abolish tolls has increased in recent years. ‘Being toll-free contributes to Zeeland’s quality of life and economy.’ By 2025, the tunnel has been converted into a toll-free route for passenger traffic, with a decision to collect tolls within 8 years.
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