Homeowners, businesses could be forced to pay for public transit improvements

Noord Station on Amsterdam's Noord-Zuid subway line, 21 July 2018
Noord Station on Amsterdam's Noord-Zuid subway line, 21 July 2018Photo: @NoordZuidlijn / Twitter

The Dutch government is considering introducing levies so that those who benefit from public transport also help pay for its improvements, Financieele Dagblad reports based on documents the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management sent to parliament over the past six months.

For new construction, businesses and private individuals who benefit from extensions to public transport in the big cities may pay some 5 thousand euros per home. Owners of existing homes may pay an accessibility charge of 75 euros per year. The proceeds raised with these levies will be used to fund extensions and improvements to the public transport network.

Project developers, home and real estate owners, motorists and travelers all benefit from government investments in public transport and infrastructure. Such improvements lead to higher land and house prices and a better quality of life, according to the newspaper. In Maastricht, for example, house prices in the vicinity of the new A2 tunnel increased considerably after the tunnel was built. 

The government now wants those who benefit to make a direct financial contribution to the same projects. A study group is currently investigating how "beneficiaries of public transport investments" can contribute themselves, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management said in a letter to parliament last month. 

These levies can help the large Dutch cities in particular. According to the newspaper, the large cities want to expand their public transport networks, but don't have enough money available. This involves projects like extending the Noord-Zuid subway line in Amsterdam, or expanding the light rail network in Zuid-Holland. 

According to FD, nothing is final yet. In addition to introducing levies, the Ministry of Infrastructure is also looking into other options, like a higher motor vehicle tax, or contributing to public transit improvements with the kilometer charge for trucks.