Opinion: 40,000 Cars

POSTED: 08/16/11 12:31 PM

So what is the problem with our road network again? Vromi-Minister Theo Heyliger pointed the finger on Friday to car dealers, banks and insurance companies. The flow of imported cars continues, the minister said, banks are quicker with car loans than they are with granting mortgages and those darn insurance companies keep offering motorists the best rates.
We know that our Minister is in a quandary with all this, but the question many people will ask is this one. What has the government ever done to stop the import of cars? In the past, Heyliger’s argument has always been that an import-ban is useless, because this requires the cooperation of the French side authorities.
We’d say – knowing that our French neighbors have the same problem – that it is worth the effort to take a shot at obtaining that cooperation.
On the French side there are, according to COM-President Frantz Gumbs, between 15,000 and 18,000 cars. On the Dutch side the number hovers just under 25,000. Altogether, we have therefore roughly 40,000 cars on our roads and everybody experiences this on a daily basis.
What to do? First of all, stop complaining, and take action. We’re always ready to help find solutions, so here are a couple of suggestions.
The first step towards managing the car fleet on the island is to pin down the current number of vehicles on the Dutch and on the French side.
The second step is to set a ceiling for the maximum allowed number of cars. If that number is already met, no problem, we’ll take it from there.
Say that we allow a maximum of 45,000 cars and that these vehicles are already there. Now a car dealer wants to import, say, twenty new cars for his business. There is only one solution to prevent that the number of cars exceeds the agreed upon maximum. Twenty other cars will have to be taken off the road.
Another option is to demand that people who buy a new car, take their old car off the road. That could obviously create a situation if the old car is still good to go and has a respectable rest value. Nothing to do about that: the government will have to keep tab of the number of cars on the road (the license plate registration system will do the trick) and when no plate numbers are retired, buying a new car will simply not be possible.
That, may sound harsh to car dealer and people with a taste for a new car every two years. But hey, they, too, have an interest in a system that enables all motorists to move around the island. If nothing is done to stop the influx of more and more cars, we will reach a moment when it becomes impossible to get out of our drive way.
In other words, reaching a solution is a matter of give and take. Give up the idea of buying new cars on a regular basis in exchange for some breathing space on the road.
But above all, reaching a solution is a matter of willpower. Remember that formula we have presented already several times on this page? Intention + Action = Result.
If the result is, in this case, that the influx of cars continues unhindered, there are two possible causes. The first one is that the government did not take the appropriate action to stop new cars from coming to the island. The second possibility is that the government never had the intention to do this, even though the Minister of Vromi has now stated for the record that this is a problem.

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