The Oosterweel junction revisited
Antwerp’s traffic jams, and even more so the suggested solutions, continue to mobilise media and public opinion. This LES paper (KUL) assesses the Oosterweel junction, a new tunnel under the river Scheldt, that aims to alleviate the congestion on the existing tunnels and on the Ring of Antwerp. The authors’ model is used to compare alternatives with and without the new tunnel. The alternatives include different combinations of tolls and bans on trucks. The cost-benefit analysis concludes that the first priority is not to build new capacity but to remove the pricing distortions on the existing capacity. The alternatives that include a pricing reform are the only ones that generate a positive net benefit; almost all scenarios that include the new tunnel have a negative net benefit.
Beyond Copernicus:From Confusion to Consensus?
The 2000 Copernicus reform has faded away before flourishing. Belgium has the highest public spending and public employment in the OECD and still the relative quality and quantity of public services remain disappointing. With so many challenges ahead such as globalisation, population aging, the race for talents, the digital revolution, it is urgent to send a wake-up call for a government that is steering and not rowing. Jean Hindriks makes the diagnosis and suggests several “quick wins”.
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