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Finance Minister proposes tolls on good roads

Matti Vanhanen says motorists could be charged for using well-maintained arteries.

Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen speaking to Yle on Saturday. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle
Yle News

On Saturday Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen told Yle's talk show Ykkösaamu he was in favour of using location data to introduce tolls on certain roads.

Finland is in the midst of planning an overhaul to traffic-related taxes due to be rolled out next spring.

"Fees would be lower on country roads that are not always in the best condition, but tolls would be higher for highways and streets that are constantly maintained. Nothing like this exists in the world, but I think technology could make this possible," Vanhanen explained.

Rural drivers covering long distances are currently at a disadvantage when it comes to fuel taxes included in petrol prices, according to Vanhanen.

Petrol and diesel prices increased some six cents per litre in August following a rise in Finland’s tax on fuel.

The Finnish Information Centre of the Automobile Sector, an industry lobby, has estimated that taxes make up 65-70 percent of the price paid by consumers at the pump.

"When we’ve phased out fossil fuels we’ll have to see how the state will draw revenue," he said.

Bringing in eight billion euros annually, taxes linked to transportation are a boon to state coffers.

"We have to encourage the whole country to choose transportation options with the lowest emissions. We want people to use public transport where it’s possible...we have a lot of goals that must be carried out simultaneously, and the current taxation system doesn’t make this possible," he said.

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