AMSTERDAM, June 17 The Netherlands will invest
1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in railway improvements through
2023, including a major overhaul of Amsterdam's central station
and better links to the city's Schiphol airport, the government
said on Tuesday.
The national and regional governments will jointly fund
several projects in the rail-dependent country using money
previously set aside for infrastructure projects.
Detailed plans will be submitted to parliament for approval,
but will not require extra budget negotiations by the coalition
government, which has been implementing deep austerity cuts to
meet European Union debt targets.
A large share of the new investment, 431 million euros ($587
million), will be spent in the capital, Amsterdam, where
boarding platforms will be widened and additional tracks laid to
ease congested passenger trains.
"The plan is to complete work in Amsterdam by 2023," said
Laura Kwakernaak, a spokeswoman at the Ministry for
Infrastructure and the Environment. "One of the main objectives
is to boost the number of trains that ride from Schiphol
through Amsterdam and on to other cities."
A larger sum of 703 million euros will be spent in the
southern province of Brabant to increase the capacity and
frequency of passenger trains and reroute noisy cargo traffic,
the ministry said.
Large-scale infrastructure projects are badly needed to help
revive the sluggish Dutch economy and especially construction,
the sector worst hit by the financial crisis.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)