Last week, two motions were passed in the House of Representatives urging the cabinet to end tolls for the West Scheldt Tunnel as soon as possible. According to Commissioner Harry van der Maas, the province and outgoing Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen are now working together to take concrete action. “I spoke to a very positive and constructive minister,” Van der Maas said Friday morning in committee of the Council of State.
The script should be on the table when forming the new cabinet. This should happen in September. As outgoing minister, Van Nieuwenhuizen can no longer take important decisions. Van der Maas: “A new cabinet will make a decision on this anyway. This is clear from the statements made during the election period.
Not everyone is convinced that a positive decision for Zeeland still has to be negotiated at the negotiating table. SGP party chairman Joan van Burg says she has yet to see everything. “A lot of things are now put aside by the minister, like: I am not going to do anything with it now, because I have no money for it now. It is only during the training that we will see this. is happening, ”Van Burg said.
Others were more optimistic, such as Hans de Kunder, CDA member: “Use the momentum, that’s what is happening now”, with which De Kunder referred to the two adopted motions. D66 member Ton Veraart was even more optimistic: “If we all support this lobby, then it can be organized in 2025 and maybe even 2023.”
At present, there is still a “debt” of 340 million euros on the Westerscheldetunnel; the money that will be collected by the tolls of cars and trucks circulating in the tunnel. So if the balance sheet is lifted, there will be a gap of hundreds of millions. According to D66-er Veraart and other parties such as the VVD, this could be solved by means of so-called “ghost tolls”.
“This means that the government will then pay the costs which are now covered by the collection of tolls, that is to say by passers-by,” says Veraart. According to him, the central government can divide this total amount into relatively small installments of thirty years. During the debate, MP Harry van der Maas indicated that this was an obvious scenario.