By means of: Britta Janssen
Mon Nov 20, 2:25 pm
MIDDELBURG – Minister Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management and deputy Van der Maas of the province of Zeeland have made agreements to make the Western Scheldt tunnel toll-free for at least passenger traffic by 2025. This fulfills a long-cherished wish of many Zeelanders.
“The government is making 140 million euros available to make the tunnel toll-free early,” the province said on Monday. ‘These agreements were officially concluded on Monday with the signing of an administrative agreement.’
Van der Maas speaks of good agreements with the government. ‘This is good news for the Zeelanders who had to spend a lot of money for years to drive through the tunnel. A toll-free Western Scheldt tunnel is an important boost for the quality of life and economy of Zeeland. I remain committed to making the tunnel toll-free for freight traffic as well.’
The 140 million euros from the government is intended to cover missed toll revenues. ‘This amount covers the lost income until 2030 if Pay-as-you-go is provided.’
Agreements have also been made for the period 2030 – 2033. ‘By making the tunnel toll-free for passenger cars and motorcycles, an important step has now been taken towards a completely toll-free tunnel. No money is yet available to make the tunnel toll-free for freight traffic. However, the national government and the province of Zeeland have agreed to make efforts to resolve this issue in the near future.’
Western Scheldt Tunnel
The Western Scheldt Tunnel opened in 2003 and connects Zuid-Beveland with Zeeuws-Vlaanderen for road traffic. Until then, there was only a connection here with car ferry services. These were lifted when the tunnel opened. The Western Scheldt Tunnel is the only connection between the islands and is therefore important for accessibility within Zeeland. The tunnel is operated by NV Westerscheldetunnel. When it opened in 2003, the NV was largely owned by the government. Since July 1, 2009, the Province of Zeeland has been the sole shareholder. ‘The construction of the tunnel has been financed on the basis of tolls for a period of 30 years, until 2033.’
The desire to abolish tolls has grown in recent years. ‘Making toll-free contributes to the quality of life and the economy in Zeeland.’ By making the tunnel toll-free for passenger transport by 2025, the end of toll collection has been brought forward by 8 years.