Viewing cable 07THEHAGUE1630
Title: STAFFDEL KAMARCK DISCUSSES DUTCH APPROACHES TO TRAFFIC

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07THEHAGUE16302007-09-05 11:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy The Hague
VZCZCXRO8446
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTC #1630/01 2481105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051105Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0186
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0526
RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM 3568
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001630 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/WE 
H PASS TO SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS 
AND COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC WORKS 
 
E.O. 12356: N/A 
TAGS: SENV OREP PGOV ECON NL
SUBJECT: STAFFDEL KAMARCK DISCUSSES DUTCH APPROACHES TO TRAFFIC 
CONGESTION 
 
 
THE HAGUE 00001630  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
¶1.  SUMMARY.  Staffdel Kamarck visited the Netherlands August 8-11 
to discuss Dutch approaches to countering traffic congestion, 
including a new road usage tax scheme and the expansion of metro 
lines in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  The delegation also focused on 
freight transport issues, with a visit to the port of Rotterdam, 
Europe's largest container processing port.  This message has been 
cleared by Heideh Shahmoradi-Holley, U.S. Department of 
Transportation.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  Jonathon Kamarck, Republican Clerk, Senate Subcommittee on 
Transportation Appropriations, led a delegation to the Netherlands 
August 8-11 for discussions with national and local Dutch transport 
officials on traffic congestion relief efforts and innovative 
approaches to countering congestion problems in the Netherlands. 
Other delegation members included Heideh Shahmoradi-Holley, Special 
Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Kelly Kolb, Associate Director, 
Governmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation, Ellen Stein 
Beares, Professional Staff, Senate Subcommittee on Transportation 
Appropriations, Matthew McCardle, Professional Staff, Senate 
Subcommittee on Transportation Appropriations, James O'Keeffe, 
Senior Economist, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
and Alexander Herrgott, Research Analyst, Senate Committee on 
Environment and Public Works. 
 
¶3.  Robert Hijman, Senior Policy Advisor, Dutch Ministry of 
Transport, Public Works, and Water Management (MOT), briefed the 
delegation on different aspects of the so-called GONL Mobility 
Policy Document, which outlines Dutch national transport policy for 
the next 15 years.  Joris Al, Managing Director, Transport and 
Navigation Department, Rijkswaterstaat, MOT, and Ronald Keus, Senior 
Policy Advisor, MOT, discussed road traffic issues, including a new 
road usage tax scheme that the GONL expects to introduce in phases 
beginning in 2011.  Under the new system, vehicle owners would pay 
an annual road tax based on actual usage rather than the vehicle's 
purchase price, as is currently done.  These officials noted the 
reasoning for the road pricing approach is two-fold.  First, it 
optimizes the use of existing infrastructure to eliminate or 
minimize bottleneck sections of road.  Secondly, it more fairly 
targets the direct users of the road system.  Despite unsuccessful 
efforts by previous Transport Ministers, these officials were 
confident that new Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings had the 
political and public support needed to gain approval for the new 
system. 
 
¶4.  Rene Fennes, Head of International Relations, 
Directorate-General for Freight Transport and Aviation (DGTL) at the 
MOT, discussed general civil aviation issues with the delegation, 
noting that ensuring continued economic growth was a key factor 
underlying Dutch freight transport and aviation policy.  Jos Nollet, 
Senior Policy Advisor, DGTL, discussed safety and air traffic, 
emphasizing that the limiting factor for aviation growth (and 
consequential congestion) in the Netherlands was not runway 
capacity, but environment, noise, and civil airspace limitations. 
Jeroen Muntinga, Senior Policy Advisor, DGTL, discussed freight 
transport aspects of the GONL's Mobility Policy Document, including 
the need for a long-term Dutch strategic policy to accommodate 
expected growth of freight transport through the Netherlands and to 
find solutions to combat congestion threatening the nation's 
economic growth. 
 
¶5.  During a visit to the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Public Transport 
Information Centers, city officials briefed the delegation on 
different construction methods and timetables for expanding the 
metro and commuter rail systems in these cities.  Danny Spee, Policy 
Advisor, City of Amsterdam, discussed the development of a 
North-South Amsterdam Metro Line, noting that wet soil and legal 
issues remained the biggest challenges in constructing this new 
line, which was not expected to be operational for at least nine 
years.  These officials stressed the importance of pressing forward 
with construction, as traffic congestion in Amsterdam remained a 
significant problem and as traffic was expected to continue to grow. 
 Rene Wondergem, Communication Officer, Infracenter Rotterdam, 
briefed the delegation on the Randstad commuter rail system, the 
national ChipCard system (for simplified fare payment), and the 
development of Rotterdam Central Station.  He explained how these 
developments are encouraging commuters to use the rail system 
instead of personal vehicle transport. 
 
¶6.  At Rotterdam's World Port Center, Rene Luijcx, Chief External 
Relations Officer and Member of the Board of the Port of Rotterdam, 
gave an overview of port security as well as the port's structure 
and expansion plans.  He noted that Rotterdam is the second largest 
port in the world (in terms of size) with more than 378 million tons 
of cargo passing through it annually, of which almost 50 percent is 
 
THE HAGUE 00001630  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
liquid cargo.  Given an expected increase in future container 
transport, he said the port's new expansion at Maasvlakte 2 will be 
built to accommodate greater container and chemical transport.  Port 
officials also gave a brief demonstration of the real-time vessel 
tracking capability of the port, noting that both port logistics and 
law enforcement personnel had secure access to this information. 
 
¶7.  NOTE:  Rotterdam port stretches for nearly 30 miles and the port 
and industrial area covers 26,000 acres.  Rotterdam is Europe's 
largest container processing port, although the majority of 
shipments are in bulk form.  Rotterdam is Europe's most important 
port for oil and chemicals, iron ore, coal, food, and metals.  Crude 
oil, oil products, and liquid chemicals together account for almost 
half of the total cargo transiting Rotterdam; five refineries are 
situated within the port and industrial complex.  Liquid oil and 
petroleum products are transported throughout Europe through a 
comprehensive network of pipelines.  END NOTE. 
 
GALLAGHER