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No road sticker after all

Published on 27/03/2007

27 March 2007 BRUSSELS – Flemish Minister-president Yves Leterme met with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on Monday. There is little chance that a road sticker will be introduced in Flanders.

“The road sticker is not the best way to cover the costs of road construction and maintenance,” Leterme said on Monday during his working visit to Balkenende.

Flanders has for years been preparing plans for the introduction of a traffic road in consultation with the other regions. Motorists would be required to pay (for example EUR 60 a year) for the use of the road infrastructure. The plan was also included in the Flemish coalition agreement.

The plan would not cost Belgians anything extra as they would be refunded the cost of the sticker in their car tax. The main focus was to get a contribution for road infrastructure from foreign drivers and others who use the roads but do not pay road tax.

The introduction of the sticker was then postponed to 2009, but it looks now as if it will be scrapped altogether. Leterme pointed out that Europe does not think that the road sticker is the best approach to the issue.

That is why Leterme wants to look into solutions in consultation with Europe and Belgium’s neighbours. He wants to talk with other countries to see “what technology is best and over what area it can best be applied.”

Flanders and the Netherlands have already agreed to “exchange information on the pricing of mobility.” Only time will tell however if Flanders will follow the example of the Netherlands, which wants to introduce road pricing (tolls) by 2011.

Leterme says it would be “ideal” if the same system could be introduced in both Flanders and the Netherlands in the long term.

Flemish Minister for Mobility Kathleen Van Brempt did not want to comment on Leterme’s statements on Monday. Van Brempt has always been reluctant about introducing road pricing or tolls in the past because she feels it puts those without access to alternative public transport at a disadvantage.

Leterme and Balkenende also made agreements on the Schelde treaties. Balkenende promised the treaties would be voted on in the Dutch Parliament soon.

The ambition is to start on plans to deepen the Westerschelde by the end of the year, in order to make the Antwerp port more accessible for larger sea-faring ships.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news