Lessons from Private Financing of Transport Infrastructure : Dutch Infrastructure in the 19th Century and European projects in the 20th Century
In the past decade serious doubts have been expressed on the efficiency of a strong public financial involvement in infrastructure. This provokes the question whether financing of infrastructure should be a task of the government. For this purpose, the paper first presents a concise theoretical overview under which circumstances there is a case for public intervention. Interestingly, the financing and operation of transport infrastructure has not always been the task of the public sector. In the 19th century, the railway infrastructure in Europe was financed and operated by the private sector. Later, the government took over more and more responsibilities. This paper analyses then for the Netherlands the reasons for the government to take over the financing of infrastructure, in order to draw conclusions for the present and the future. Also in the 20th century many European projects have been privately financed. In the third part of the paper an overview is presented of several projects (e.g., Channel Tunnel, Mont Blanc Tunnel, Dartford Bridge, Dutch tunnels, Storebelt, etc.) as well as an analysis of the circumstances under which these are economically
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