Utrecht urges for investment in public transport in the region
A coalition of interested parties wants the next Cabinet to release billions of euros to improve public transport around Utrecht. The provincial and municipal authorities have sent an urgent letter together with a number of companies arguing that further growth in the fourth largest city in the Netherlands is not possible without investment in public transport, NOS reported.
"One of the biggest issues constantly discussed in The Hague is housing," said Arne Schaddelee, the deputy in charge of mobility for the province of Utrecht. "We have plans for 125,000 homes over the next ten years, but I'm going to lay down in front of it if we can't make agreements about how those homes can be reached."
According to Schaddelee, a total of 4 billion euros is needed "to get the public transport network up to a decent level". He explained that plans concerning investments of 2.5 billion euros for two new light rail lines and a new intercity station in the Lunetten district have already been finalized.
Schaddelee pointed out that Utrecht was currently the only major Dutch city with only one intercity station. In his opinion, that contributed to the fact public transportation was used in Utrecht considerably less than in other Dutch cities.
"Rotterdam and The Hague have three, Amsterdam no fewer than five, even without including Schiphol. We have a huge backlog, and you can see that in practice: in other cities, the number of public transport users is about 20 percent. In the city of Utrecht: only 6 percent."
Schaddelee also warned that the multi-billion investment was not only essential for the city of Utrecht, but for the country as a whole. "Utrecht is the heart of the Netherlands, a lot of railway lines go through here. If Utrecht gets stuck, it affects everyone in the Netherlands."