Last night, the House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of making the Vesterschelde tunnel previously free of charge. By 2025, the subway should be toll-free for passenger traffic.
Deputy Harry van der Maas is pleased with the resolution passed. “We’ve never been so close to a toll-free Western Sheld Tunnel. It really can’t go wrong. It’s a fantastic result of years of lobbying,” he says. Broadcasting Zeeland.
Petra de Boevere of the Zeeland Tolvrij Foundation is moderately positive. “The flag is hanging with us a little bit. At least we’ve had a few years of success, but the subway should be toll-free for everyone.” De Bovere notes that the subway will be toll-free only for passenger cars for now. “If you want to boost the economy, you can’t pay freight.”
According to van der Maas, there’s a reason for this. “We need to map the effects first. A toll-free tunnel will have a suction effect. There will be more traffic, which will affect roads and air quality.”
De Bovere also sees positive effects of the toll-free Western Scheldt tunnel for residents of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. “I think we’ll be more even. We’re more focused on Belgium now. I think we’ll be more connected to the rest of Zealand. I won’t miss those toll gates.”
The province must add more money to make the tunnel a toll-free route. Van der Maas disagrees. “We’ve already done our part by paying tolls for twenty years. I think Zeelanders have already invested enough in the tunnel.”
Discussions have been going on for years about whether or not to convert the tunnel into a toll-free route. The Western Sheld Tunnel was long thought to be toll-free until 2032, but research in 2016 showed this could be brought forward to 2027. However, in 2020, the House of Representatives rejected the removal plan. Toll as compensation for missing the Marine Barracks.
SGP believes that 2025 is too long for a toll-free tunnel. “This is possible before 2025. If it takes longer, the SGP wants to quickly establish a new tariff policy with lower tariffs in the meantime,” state member Harold van de Velde writes on Twitter.
A passenger car now has to pay 5 euros per lane. Frequent users pay €2.50 each time they pass through the toll booths.
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