The cabinet is cutting too much money from the budgets for public transport in Rotterdam and The Hague, the cities’ mayors Achmed Aboutaleb and Jozias van Aartsen say in an interview with Friday’s Volkskrant.
The minister is planning to spend €1.1bn reducing traffic jams but at the same time is cutting 20%, or €45m, from The Hague’s transport budget, the mayors point out. ‘This enormous reduction makes me angry and sad,’ Van Aartsen said.
In the interview, the mayors say better public transport is crucial to the economic development of the country’s central urban belt. ‘We do not all want to sit in cars, pumping out exhaust fumes. These savage cuts are very serious,’ Van Aartsen told the paper.
The coalition accord includes a commitment to putting bus, tram and metro services in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague out to public tender. That is now set to happen in 2013.
To compensate for the delay, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen is cutting €120m from spending on public transport in the three cities – the amount she says would be saved by privatisation.
The two mayors also said they wanted to see more money for city transport schemes from the province of Zuid-Holland. Road tax, which largely goes to the provinces, raises €200m in the province, Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb said. ‘But we only see €50m of that. Most of it goes to building roundabouts in Noordwijk.’
Rotterdam, The Hague and 22 other local authority areas in the region have been working together since 2009 on the Metropoolregio Rotterdam project, which would have more control over its own infrastructure.
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