CDA buries kilometer tax, for now at least

The Christian Democrats have abandoned their support for the kilometer tax on motoring as proposed by transport minister Camiel Eurlings but will include a revised proposal in their election manifesto, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Eurlings told MPs he had stopped all preparations for the introduction of the controversial tax and was setting aside no more cash to fund the start-up.
CDA transport spokesman Ger Koopmans said he had ‘great doubts’ about the proposal as it now stands and that there is ‘great unhappiness’ about the plan in society at large.
Nevertheless, Koopmans said, he is not opposed to a tax on motoring in principle – and that it will be unavoidable in the years to come.


Therefore the CDA election programme will include some form of road pricing, the Volkskrant said.
During the debate, Eurlings said he would continue to defend the concept of a kilometer tax. ‘But I wanted it to be introduced fairly and with wide support,’ he said.
The system proposed by Eurlings involved fitting every car with a small gps transmitter which would register car movements. Drivers would be billed every month for the distance they had driven. Extra charges would be levied on rush-hour motoring.
Left-wing green MP Ineke van Gent accused the CDA of paying lip service to the tax over the past three years. And she warned that the government may be faced with damages claims from all the private sector companies which have been involved in developing the systems.
The project had an estimated start-up cost of €4bn.
The NRC points out that the transport ministers have been trying for the past 22 years to introduce some form of road pricing in the Netherlands but the plans have always failed because of a lack of popular support.
An experiment with a kilometer tax system had been due to start around Amsterdam shortly. It is not clear what the status of that project now is.

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