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ABP declares interest in running Dutch toll roads

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THE NETHERLANDS - The €201bn civil service pension fund ABP is willing to operate one or more motorways in the Netherlands as toll roads, its chairman Elco Brinkman said.

The conditions are that ABP would get the rights for at least 30 years and that this management would generate sufficient returns for the scheme, Brinkman indicated, in daily NRC Handelsblad.

According to Brinkman, also chairman of the Dutch building sector body and a former Christian Democrat minister, similar initiatives are regularly being discussed within ABP's board.

Plans to run the motorways network commercially have often been brought to the attention of successive ministers responsible for traffic, he said. "I am just angling for political commitment. The ministers can see the point, but it is a complex issue, which crosses all council and province boundaries."

ABP's chairman said he has been watching how politicians have been discussing the issues of congestion for years, but with no solution in sight as yet.

"The transport problem lies unjustly on the government's plate, but the government changes opinion every three years," Brinkman explained.

"Market players, like ABP, are interested in operating a motorway for 30 or 40 years, and preferably for longer," he added.

In Brinkman's opinion, the fact that all traffic projects have been financed from the public coffers so far, does not make sense.

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