Unibg International

Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods

Call for paper

Highways: cost and regulation in Europe

Bergamo, November 26th- 27th 2004


Workshop promoted by the University of Bergamo, Department of Economics, coordinated by professor Giorgio Ragazzi, in cooperation with professors Giuseppe Bognetti (Universit? Statale Milano), Andrea Boitani (Universit?attolica, Milano) and Marco Ponti (Politecnico, Milano).

Highways and other road transport infrastructures require large investments, and significant resources for operation and maintenance. In some countries these costs are entirely borne by the public sector, in other countries tolls cover part or all costs; concessionaires may be public or private companies; private concessions may result from new constructions assigned under project financing, or from privatisations of public operators. A policy framework for charging road users in Europe is slowly being developed.

Purpose of the meeting is to review theory, history and prospects for:

  • pricing for transport infrastructure (free or toll? tolls are set at marginal social costs or to recover financial costs? tolls are taxes or prices for use of the infrastructure? what is the weight of tolls on total transport costs? is there a trend towards a common European pricing policy?)

  • impact of investments and road charges/ costs on public sector accounts (which is the level/trend of investment and maintenance costs in various countries? what share is covered by toll revenues? to what extent PPP practices, such as privatisations and project financing, are used to reduce the impact on public sector accounts, according to Eurostat accounting rules? how efficient are public motorways departments compared to concessionaires?)

  • privatisation and regulation of highways (under what terms are concessions granted? what is the scope for competition? how independent is the regulatory authority? how are regulated tariffs and new investments? is there any evidence of greater efficiency by private vis a vis public concessionaires? which risks are borne by concessionaires? is the financial return of concessionaires justified by risks assumed?)

  • project financing in transport infrastructures (what is the role of project financing? how is project financing organized/regulated? Is financial return justified by risks assumed by private investors, with reference also to "case studies"? what is the role of the European Union in promoting / funding major investment projects?)

We would appreciate both theoretical contributions and country studies or case studies, either in Italian or, preferably, in English.