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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.