Transport Minister Merja Kyllönen has presented a model that would levy different charges depending on where and when a motorist is travelling, and whether public transport is a viable alternative. If it is, then private car usage could cost more.
“The starting point is that the system should be fair for everyone,” said Kyllönen. “So that those for whom it is necessary to use a car are not punished by the tax and charging policy.”
Finland to become a road-charging trailblazer
The development of a new road-charging system is still at an embryonic stage, but it will be based on previous reports on the matter. Payments could be collected using satellite technology to locate vehicles.
This type of system is not yet in use elsewhere, so Finland could develop and sell the technology to other countries.
Road tolls criticised by motoring lobby
The Transport Minister says she believes that taxation of motoring should be reviewed to include road tolls in the overall package of motoring taxes. When asked by YLE, she did not take a position on whether the introduction of road tolls could lead to cuts in vehicle taxation.
“We should consider the matter with the Finance Ministry and others to find the best and most equitable solution,” said Kyllönen.
Road charging has previously been criticised by the 104,000-member Automobile and Touring Club of Finland, which is not warmly disposed to the latest proposal either.
“Nobody knows how expensive the road charges could be, or whether there will be timely increases in public transport provision and other alternatives,” cautioned the club’s Managing Director Pasi Nieminen.
Road tolls are not in the government’s programme, but the ministry is including the issue in a broad-ranging report on transport policy.