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Fast-tracking infrastructure projects wishful thinking

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Rescuing the economy by fast-tracking construction projects is easier said than done. To achieve such an objective means relaxing procedures and rules. Proponents point to the A4 traffic artery fiasco, a road-widening project north of Leyden, which was halted over procedural errors nearly two years ago. At the earliest, work may resume by the end of this year, analysts say. Three parties, the conservative liberal faction VVD, and coalition parties CDA and Labour, which together have a majority in the Second Chamber, are banding together to guide legislation through the Chamber with the aim of simplifying procedures for infrastructure jobs. A professor of technological planning agrees that rules should be more flexible but environmentalists are objecting and blame officials for submitting substandard project preparation. A commission agreed that they could have a point. Dutch environmental groups, which make a career out of scrutinizing and intervening against large projects, are usually government funded. Business groups are pressuring the government to restrict such intervention tactics.