JAPAN HAS recruited consultant Owen Williams to help develop private toll road concessions. It will advise the Japanese on transferring risk from the government to private concession holders.
The consultant has been hired on the back of its experience of toll roads in the UK and overseas and in particular its work as the Highways Agency's agent on the privately financed US$710M M6 toll, north of Birmingham.
'Judging by the questions being asked, the government in Japan keeps hold of more powers and duties than here, ' said M6 toll project manager John Keaney.
'Expressways currently make up less than 1% of the Japanese road network, but 60% of expressways are tolled.'
'They are looking to finance further road schemes through tolling and want to see what powers can be passed to the concessionaire, ' he said.
Owen Williams this week provided an initial response in the form of a questionnaire which will be followed up by a report in the next two weeks.
The report will form the basis of a best practice guide for procuring future highway schemes.