Congested Europe: How many times will mobile consumers have to pay?

Date

16 Mar 2009

Sections

Transport

Wil Botman, Director-General of the FIA European Bureau, voices concerns about the European Parliament’s vote on the Eurovignette review opening the door to congestion charging for passenger cars.

“Every day, European road users endure increasingly ever more congestion everywhere in Europe. And now in return for this deplorable situation additional charges could be introduced” said Botman.

Neglect of Europe’s road infrastructure over the years has caused today’s gridlock on our road network. Much needed investment in the extension and maintenance of the system has been deferred while taxes and charges continuously paid by the road users have simply disappeared into general budgets to be spent on other non-road related items.

“The decision taken by the European Parliament means that road users will not only continue to be stuck in traffic, but they will be asked to pay through congestion charges for the right be stuck” said Botman.

If these proposals become reality road users will not only pay for the construction and the maintenance of the road infrastructure through their motoring taxes, which are by the way amongst the highest in the world. Their loss of time sitting in congestion is also another major cost and now they will be charged again when asked to pay for the congested roads, without any hope of seeing an improvement or alternative to such an unacceptable situation.

“Paying three times for no improvement is not progress!” said Botman.

In this time of crisis, the FIA is particularly worried about the course taken by the European Union. Instead of using the crisis as an opportunity to invest massively in the road infrastructure as an engine for economic recovery, the European Union prefers to persevere in its current approach which is totally lacking in adequate assessment on a scientific basis or of the costs and benefits. The EU prefers seemingly to add further burdens rather than to give its staggering economies the right impetus while at the same time freeing up mobility in Europe, a key element of its future economic strength and competitiveness.

“Mobility is one of the greatest achievements of our modern European societies. It is the lubricant of our economies. The additional burdens presently under discussion are serious threats to our future prosperity. If we want to be prosperous in future we urgently need to rethink the approach” concluded Botman.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s leading motoring organisation, represents via its affiliated members, national motoring and touring organisations over 100 million motorists worldwide and 34 million motorists in the European Union. Europe’s motoring and touring organisations have as their highest priority to make mobility more sustainable, i.e. more reliable, cleaner and safer while keeping it affordable for all.

For more information please contact: Sinziana Gille - Tel. +32 2 282 08 16

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