Minister defends ´cheaper´ kilometer tax

The introduction of an extra rush-hour charge on top of the standard kilometer tax will not leave most motorists worse off, transport minister Camiel Eurlings told MPs on Wednesday evening.

Such claims are untrue and alarmist, Eurlings said during a parliamentary debate on the transport ministry´s 2010 spending plans, which was dominated by the new tax.
Earlier this month, ministers agreed to bring in a kilometer tax for all motorists, which will start at three cents a kilometer for the most energy-efficient cars. The tax is due to be launched in 2012 although many experts doubt this will be possible.
The plan has been under sustained attack from opposition MPs who say it will cost motorists more than the road and sales tax it replaces, and that it infringes on privacy. Each car is to be fitted with a GPS transmitter which will monitor the length and duration of every journey.
The Telegraaf newspaper has also mounted a campaign against what it calls the ´spy box´.
And the motoring organisation ANWB, which at first supported the scheme, now appears to have doubts. Chairman Guido van Woerkom has demanded Eurlings come clean about the extra rush-hour charges before the ANWB gives its backing, most papers report on Thursday.
Lower charges
Eurlings claims some 58% of motorists will be better off when the tax is introduced. And the peak-period fee will be ´much much lower´ than the claims of between €1 and 25 cents which have been circulating, he told MPs on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Christian Democrat MPs who said last week they would oppose regional rush-hour charges apart from the Amsterdam ring road toll appear to have changed their position, the Volkskrant says.
´Extra measures against jams will be necessary in some places,´MP Sander de Rouwe was reported as saying.
The cabinet will decide when and where the extra rush-hour tax will be introduced later this year, the paper said.
Liberal MP Charlie Aptroot said the add-on fee would ´hit the hard-working Dutchman even more.´
The new tax is backed by the three coalition parties together with the fundamentalist Christian SGP, left-wing greens Groenlinks and the Liberal democrats D66. They argue the new system will be much fairer because people who drive the most will pay more tax.
ChristenUnie MP Ernst Cramer said the measure is ´a milestone´ in terms of making motoring more sustainable.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation