Audit court slams France's private motorway operators

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In 2006, France introduced the total privatisation of three-quarters of its vast motorway network, leaving almost 9,000 kilometres under the management of three concession operators. A report this summer by the country’s national audit court, commissioned by a parliamentary finance commission, presents a damning picture of practices since the sell-off and calls for far tighter controls of the operators. Dan Israel reports.

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While the August holiday getaway remains a perennial nightmare for millions of French motorists, when the traditional monthly shutdown of swathes of industry results in gigantic nationwide traffic jams, there are some rubbing their hands in glee. For this is also the period when the operators of France’s privately-managed motorways – amounting to 8,891 kilometres in total – are making their biggest profits.