France scraps Ecotax PPP project

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France scraps Ecotax PPP project

The Ecomouv' consortium, in charge of implementing the Ecotax PPP project in France, has received a letter from the French government informing of the cancelation of the contract.

Ecomouv' is a joint venture between Italy's Autostrade, which owns 70% of the capital, and the French companies Thales (11%), SNCF (10%), SFR (6%) and Steria (3%). The firm was responsible for the establishment and collection of the ecotax and the transit heavy toll fee on French roads.

Ecomouv' and the French government entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 20 June this year to analyze the option of scrapping the ecotax project due to reasons of general interest. The 'general interest' label could avoid the French government paying more than €1 billion (US$1.25 billion) in cancellation fines and other costs.

According to the French government the contract has been terminated due to numerous difficulties in implementing the project. The letter refers to doubts over the validity of the initial contract, relating to constitutional requirements governing the award of contracts to private entities for certain activities.

The ecotax aimed to raise about €1 billion in taxes from heavy vehicles. The tolls were scheduled to be operational by early 2015, after three month of testing.

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