Government adapts plans for railway funding

Transport Minister Doris Leuthard says the cabinet is willing to increase its contribution to finance the country’s railway infrastructure.

This content was published on November 2, 2011 - 16:34

She said the government would boost its payments “considerably”, notably by paying SFr2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) annually towards a fund, to lessen the burden on the cantons and consumers.

Leuthard said the cabinet would withdraw plans to drastically limit tax breaks for commuters, following widespread opposition by political parties and organisations.

However, she said it was impossible to meet all the demands for further railway projects as funds were limited to SFr3.5 billion in the first stage.

The announcement met with a mixed reaction from organisations and political parties.

The Green Party argued the government had given in to pressure from the road transport lobby at the expense of consumers. The Road Haulage Association for its part criticised the government for its plans to use revenue from a tax on heavy goods trucks for railway projects.

A bill for parliament is expected to be finalised early next year.

Environmental groups, supported by trade unions and centre-left parties, have collected enough signatures for a nationwide vote on boosting public transport.

The proposal wants to use part of the revenue from mineral oils for train projects and urban railway networks. No date for the ballot has been set.

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