This volume raises many challenging and controversial issues surrounding motorway procurement and finance in Europe. A somewhat surprising outcome is that a general appraisal bias can be identified in the following sense: Experts from countries which have introduced concession schemes for managing and financing of their motorways are very critical of these schemes, stressing their shortcomings and caveats. Some even conclude that public management under a regime of welfare maximisation would be desirable as a sustainable option. Experts from countries which have been sticking to public procurement and tax finance of motorways strongly attack the inefficiency of public planning regimes and the general tendency to allocate the revenues from special transport related taxes to the public budget, eventually spending them on other purposes rather than transport. A typical feature of the latter regime seems to be the chronic lack of funds for infrastructure investment.
Although a single ideal country concept for motorway procurement and finance obviously cannot be identified, every paper gives some insights into possible future improvements. Therefore, beyond the rich documentation of national solutions it is the perspective on workable future concepts which makes the book a valuable guide through the jungle of manifold options for public/private partnerships.
This book is a selection of papers presented to the international conference Highways: Costs and Regulation in Europe, held in Bergamo on the 26th - 27th of November 2004. The Conference was organised by the University of Bergamo, and sponsored by the European Investment Bank.