Dutch Council of State greenlights Belgian fast tram to Maastricht

Thursday, 16 May 2019 16:29
Dutch Council of State greenlights Belgian fast tram to Maastricht © Belga
The Dutch Council of State has greenlit the express tram connection between Hasselt, in the Belgian part of the Limburg province, and Maastricht in the Netherlands.
The next Flemish government has to determine when to start the works. "We want to give the go-ahead before some back out," said Flemish member of Parliament, Lode Ceyssens (CD&V) to NewMobility. "This Flemish government has to call for tenders," he added.

The final decision will be made by summer 2020 at the earliest. "We can start publishing the selection guidelines, but it is up to the next government to make the final decisions," the Flemish Minister for Mobility, Ben Weyts (N-VA) said to NewMobility.

However, Hasselt mayor Steven Vandeput (N-VA), opposed the tram route in the city in favour of a fast connection to Genk and the Maasland. "I will keep on fighting against the originally traced out tram line because it is not the right priority to open up Limburg, but I understand we have to respect the coalition agreement," he said.

The project referred to as the Spartacus plan was created by the public transport companies De Lijn and NMBS/SNCB to promote public transport in the Belgian part of Limburg, but has been in the works for almost 15 years.

In the meantime, in Maastricht, in the Dutch part of Limburg, they keep calm about the discussion on the Belgian side. "We have a contract with the Flemish government, whatever its constitution, so they cannot escape. The contract does not include a clause of dissolution," said Maastricht Alderman, Gert-Jan Krabbendam (GroenLinks), to NewMobility.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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