– This is a beautiful day. Finally we are listened to. It is a great relief, says county mayor of Rogaland Marianne Chesak (Labor).
Until today, there has been great uncertainty about whether the county municipalities have the finances to guarantee large road projects.
The Norwegian counties have provided guarantees for more than NOK 154 billion for national roads. For several years, for example, Rogaland County Municipality has fought to avoid having warranty liability for national roads.
The county municipality has already provided guarantees for NOK 31.8 billion, of which NOK 25 billion are guarantees for pure European and national road projects. It is by far the most in the country.
In comparison, the county municipality’s operating revenues are 7.3 billion a year.
The county has refused to provide a guarantee for further development of the E39, between Ålgård and Lyngdal of NOK 11 billion.
– It is a dysfunctional system. The county municipalities must provide guarantee responsibility for projects, where we can neither manage income nor expenses. We can not do anything active. This has been a great burden for the county municipalities, says Chesak.
The state takes over
The new decision means that the state must take the bill if the repayment of the projects does not go as planned.
– We believe it is wrong that when the rich state builds a road, the poor county municipalities must provide a guarantee for it, says Storting politician Geir Pollestad (Sp).
It was the opposition parties Senterpartiet, Fremskrittspartiet, Arbeiderpartiet and Rødt that provided the majority.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, on the other hand, believed that this solution would undermine the toll system and deprive the county municipality of influence over toll projects.
Below you can see the relationship between income and guarantee liability for the counties that are worst off:
– HWhy is it important that the state takes over?
– It can provide cheaper tolls. There are also counties that are not able to provide more guarantees, so that road projects stop. And then it’s about justice, says Pollestad.
He believes the decision means that more road projects can get started faster.
– This is a winning case in every way.
The county mayor of Rogaland has been in meetings with Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide (KrF) and Minister of Local Government Nikolai Astrup (H) about the case.
– They understand the situation. But nothing more concrete has come than that.
– If this goes through, the warranty liability will be greatly reduced. We will have a much safer economy, she says.