No expansion of the toll road network: hauliers succeed in their country

The toll road network in Flanders was due to be extended by 500 km this year. This had been proposed by the Flemish Minister for Mobility, Lydia Peeters, but the plans met with fierce opposition from the haulage industry. The opposition actions of the transport organisations have not gone unnoticed.

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The decree on the Flemish budget for 2024 provides for the extension of tolls to a further 500 km of roads in Flanders.

"The alternative would have been a further significant increase in the toll, but on all the roads that already have tolls," explains Transport & Logistics Belgium (TLB), the organisation of the three recognised transport federations in Belgium. It bitterly points out that these measures are designed to fill the budget out of the hauliers' pockets. Shortly after the announcement of the above plans, the TLB sent letters of strong criticism to all ministers.

"We started banging on the table at meetings in Brussels to express the industry's anger at the idea. Our anger and our fight had an effect. After weeks of their insistence and several talks, we finally received assurances that the Flemish government will not implement the extension of the toll road network," says the TLB announcement.

Criticism from outside the sector

Criticism of these plans to extend tolls to more roads in Flanders has not only come from the road haulage industry.

In January this year, Tim Buyse, secretary general of the Flemish Mobility Board (MORA), commented on the toll extension.

At the time, Buyse stated that the extension of the toll roads was not based on a solid foundation and that MORA expected the negative effects of the extension to outweigh the promised positive effects.

MORA's Secretary General also responded to Minister Peeters' argument about the impact of the increase in charges on the transfer of freight from road to rail, pointing out that no such change has yet resulted in a modal shift.