Initiative: In favour of fair traffic financing
Currently, not all of Switzerland’s fuel tax is allocated to improving and expanding Switzerland’s infrastructure, some of it flows into the overall Federal budget.
Restricting fuel taxes to the road
The Swiss People’s party (UDC/SVP) along with representatives from a broad selection of parties and interest groups, want all tax gained from fuel to be used to improve and expand Switzerland’s road network.
They say that the current system is ‘milking’ drivers.
Tired of traffic jams
Andreas Burgener, backer of the initiative and director of auto-schweiz, the Swiss association of automobile importers, said: “We find ourselves spending more time in traffic jams and, at the same time, paying more and more taxes every year. This doesn’t make sense. Traffic jams are bad for the economy.”
Parliament agrees that the road network needs more funding. Their answer is NAF, the national road and agglomeration fund – known as FORTA in French – which includes an increase in fuel tax.
“NAF is more than enough to cover the necessary road improvements,” said Roger Baumann spokesperson for the association of public transport, in an interview with Le News.
Headed in the wrong direction
Opponents of the proposal argue that this initiative would strip other public budgets, such as education, agriculture and public transport, of a total of CHF 1.5 billion annually.
“In Switzerland there are no taxes that are 100 percent purpose specific. This is neither the case with taxes on tobacco, nor with value-added tax on food products. Why should this be different with fuel taxes?” said Mr Baumann.
Sending the wrong message
Those opposed to the initiative say increasing investment in roads sends the wrong message, making it more attractive for people to drive instead of encouraging them to use public transport.
The position of the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament
Both government and parliament are against making changes to the allocation of fuel tax and recommend rejecting this initiative.
The Swiss referendum vote is on Sunday 5th June
There are three kinds of fuel tax in Switzerland. Mineral oil tax on fuel, mineral oil surtax on fuel, and mineral oil tax on combustibles. Currently, 50 percent of the first, and 100 percent of the second tax go towards roads, transport and airports. In 2015, CHF 3.3 billion or 70 percent from all three taxes, went towards transport infrastructure.
Initiative website (in French)
Opponents’ website (in German)
NAF explained (in German)
FORTA explained (in French)
Swiss fuel taxes in 2015 (in English)
By Jade Cano
Jade is a freelance journalist and lives in Geneva. Originally from Colombia, she has lived in the UK and Germany.
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