Train tracks go unrepaired, victim of financial mismanagement

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ProRail may be getting 175 million euros less subsidy next year because the company has been pushing money for maintenance and repairs forward for years, instead of using it to repair train tracks.

Sharon Dijksma, the new State Secretary for Infrastructure and Environment, wrote this in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, the Volkskrant reports. According to Dijksma, this year alone there is an amount of between 100 and 160 million euros that has not been touched. The State Secretary writes that the company pushes too much money into large projects such as station refurbishments and too little into track maintenance, which regularly gets postponed. She calls the delays and postponement in track maintenance a "structural phenomenon".

According to Dijksma, that ProRail does not spend money on necessary track maintenance and renewal, once again illustrates the financial mismanagement of the company. Two months ago a financial investigation commissioned by Dijksma's predecessor, Wilma Mansveld, already showed that the companies financial management leaves much to be desired. Mansveld told the Kamer that the rail operator may well be facing a 475 million euro deficit for the period 2018 - 2028. Dijksma agrees with this analysis, adding that the amount "does not stand still".

ProRail explains the "leftover" money by stating that over the past years, some track work turned out to be cheaper than expected and money that was set aside for unforeseen work was never needed, according to the newspaper. The company emphasizes that railway safety has never been compromised.

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