It's roads vs. railways in battle over fuel taxTuesday, 7 September, 2010
Should the government take more of the money it makes from taxing fuel and pump it into the public transport network? That’s what the members of the transport and environment organization (ATE) want—and they say they’ve got the support of more than 140,000 people.
Under the current structure, 25 percent of fuel tax goes to public transport. The rest is channeled back into the road network. ATE wants that proportion to be 50-50.
Campaigners say that would put CHF 800 million a year towards maintaining the high standards on the country’s railways, and allow Swiss Federal Railways to greenlight delayed projects such as the long-awaited third rail on the congested stretch between Geneva and Lausanne or adding new tram routes in cities.
But not everyone agrees.
Critics argue that taking tax revenue money away from the road network would lead to higher fuel prices and more traffic jams if maintenance is starved of funds. And some have argued that a well-maintained road infrastructure is crucial for the country’s manufacturing sectors.
It’s a debate that’s likely to rumble on.
WRS’s Conor Lennon called on one of the initiative’s staunch supporters, Social Democrat MP Roger Nordmann, to take a look at some of these questions: