Brussels city toll plan is unbalanced, MP warns

Brussels city toll plan is unbalanced, MP warns
Credit: Belga

Brussels’ SmartMove city toll plan is unbalanced and the current text won’t be approved, francophone socialist party (PS) president in the Brussels Parliament Ridouane Chahid told l’Echo.

By 2022, Brussels wants to make all roads in the capital region subject to a fixed toll per car, supplemented by an additional charge per kilometre, according to documents from the Brussels administration that were sent to the government. The toll plan could yield half a billion euros per year.

While Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, also of the PS, confirmed on Friday that his government wants to introduce a tax system to reduce congestion in the Brussels Region, Chahid said that the current plan does not respect a series of guidelines present in the government agreement of July 2019.

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“The agreement said that car taxation must be rethought, moving from possession to use. No one is calling this principle into question,” Chahid said. “On the other hand, the agreement specified that there should be no negative social impact and that a cooperation agreement between the regions would be favoured.”

Neither of those conditions are currently being met, according to Chahid. Brussels faces opposition from both Wallonia and Flanders, whose parliaments are nearly unanimously against the plan, and members of the Walloon Parliament voted a resolution on Monday to urge talks with the Brussels government before the toll is implemented.

In addition, “the model currently on the table does not assure us that the people of Brussels will not pay more than they did before,” Chahid pointed out, underlining the importance of “a social criterion linked to income and dependent children.”

Chahid wants the Economic and Social Council of the Brussels Region to be involved in the process.

A final decision on the Brussels toll plan has yet to be taken.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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