No kilometre toll for private cars in this parliamentary term, Lacroix drums out
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    No kilometre toll for private cars in this parliamentary term, Lacroix drums out

    © Belga
    Lacroix drives home his point.
    © Belga

    There will be no kilometre tolls for private car drivers in this parliamentary term, the Walloon Minister for Finances and Budget, Christophe Lacroix underlined. This comes after the publication of a survey produced on behalf of the Flemish federation of businessmen Unizo.

    Half of Flemish businessmen are in favour of a kilometre toll being applied to individuals. This is particularly the case, if it will make a reduction in bottlenecks and their related economic losses a viable solution. This is the message from the survey.

    Unizo stresses that Belgium is one of the most congested countries in Europe. Traffic jams have very significant economic impacts. Unizo is not, however, demanding the immediate instigation of this tax but simply recommends that a pilot project be launched with a view to evaluating the consequences.

    Since April 1st, a kilometre toll has been levied upon lorry drivers. The equipment is not of a size and calibration for wide application to individuals. Scanning 20,000 heavy goods vehicles would equate to some 1.7 million private vehicles, Mr Lacroix observed.

    The Declaration for Regional Walloon Policy explicitly indicates that fees for heavy goods vehicles will not be broadened to include individuals.

    Moreover, such an undertaking would, imply a return to the cooperation agreement concluded after lengthy negotiations between all three regions and consultation with the privacy commission. “I maintain what was said in the government agreement: the answer is no, no, and no again,” insists Mr Lacroix.

    Kilometre tolls, in consideration for potential compensation, however seem to be the direction of travel, listening to bosses, including those in Wallonia. “We hardly have a choice. In certain locations in the country, the situation is becoming impossible. There are many other ways in which things could be improved,” Vincent Reuter, the Chief Executive of l’Union Wallonne des Entreprises (the Walloon Union of Companies), explained. 

    Reuter was interviewed by the channel RTBF. He said that one of the benefits of the measure would be forcing a greater number of drivers in the direction of car sharing.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times