Monday 19 April 2021

Transport minister told to do her homework on track operator ProRail

wilma mansveldJunior transport minister Wilma Mansveld has been given two weeks by parliament to come up with more information about the financial problems at state-owned railway operator ProRail.

Tuesday’s debate between Mansveld and MPs was finally halted at well after midnight. In particular, MPs are unhappy about Mansveld’s explanation for a possible shortfall of €475m on the railway maintenance budget. They want an independent investigation.

Commentators said Mansveld’s position has been seriously weakened by her failure to get a proper grip on the railways.

‘If, after such a tough debate, you are sent home with a pile of homework, then you are effectively under special supervision,’ Nos journalist Joost Vullings said. The Volkskrant said the debate had ended in a cliffhanger for Mansveld.

MPs were also irritated by Mansveld’s continual emphasis on the state’s role as a simple shareholder in ProRail, Vullings said. This, Mansveld repeated several times, means the government has no direct influence on the company.

The minister’s troubles are not yet over, the broadcaster points out. The results of the parliamentary inquiry into the Fyra high-speed train debacle are also due to be published this autumn.

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