Gothenburg’s main avenue is already a restricted area for private cars. Photo: Göran Assner.
The politicians of Gothenburg has now said yes to introducing congestion charges. Cleaner air and less traffic in the centre are two reasons for this, but what seems to be the main motive is to provide capital for big infrastructural projects in the region. For example several tunnels for both trains and cars are planned.
In the web edition of the Gothenburg newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, discussions are heated. Some people are overjoyed, others see it as a infringement on their personal freedom, or wonder if today’s public transport will be able to swallow more passengers. The debate is also strong over if it’s right to use the money from a congestion charge to finance road projects.
Now the process starts in order to apply for state funds to pay for the congestion charges. But even if these policies are worked on at lightning speed by political standards, it will still take some time before congestion charges can be reality for people in Göteborg. In 2011 they can come into force, at the earliest.
In Stockholm, congestion charges were introduced in 2007. Also here environmentalists have been criticizing local politicians for using the revenues from the charges mostly to finance new road projects instead of investing the money in sustainable means of transport.