Constitutional reform key to reinstatement of city charge

October 25, 2006

Negotiations are continuing on reinstating Stockholm’s congestion charge after last month's local referendum and parliamentary election.

In the referendum, the citizens most affected by the charge voted in favour of it being made permanent after a seven-month trial earlier this year. But because under Sweden’s constitution it cannot come into effect without approval from the national parliament, and as the ruling red-green national coalition lost its majority on the same day, confusion has reigned over whether the charge will be reinstated.

Two weeks after the election, the new national centre-right coalition, whose biggest party opposed the whole idea of charging, surprisingly announced plans to reinstate the charge but to use the revenue to fund the building of a controversial by-pass west of Stockholm instead of improvements to public transport, as most has expected. This plan received a hostile reception, but it is likely that some sort of charge will be reintroduced within a year.

In addition, the new government announced that a committee reviewing the constitution will be instructed to deliver a proposal for an amendment that will pass responsibility for congestion charging from parliament to local authorities.

This news story is taken from the October 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.

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