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Heavy trucks to pay more to use Swiss roads

The Supreme Court has ruled that shipping companies must pay higher fees to use Swiss roads, a decision that observers say will mean higher costs for consumers.

A 40-ton truck passing from Basel to Chiasso will now have to pay roughly SFr325 ($306) in fees, a ten per cent increase against 2007 rates. Last year the fees put SFr1.4 billion in public coffers. The increase will add roughly SFr70 million more.

Moritz Leuenberger, the Swiss transport minister, welcomed the news but said it came as no surprise. The ministry had set the fees based on a compromise deal with the European Union, which had wanted lower rates. Some Swiss had lobbied for higher ones.

The Swiss Transport and Environment Association hailed the increase, saying the fees play a vital role in moving cargo off roads and onto trains.

The Swiss Road Haulers Association had questioned the way the fee hikes had been calculated and sued. The Federal Administrative Court upheld the association’s side in October 2009, ruling the increase was illegal since the money generated would surpass the impacts.

The Road Haulers said the Supreme Court’s move on Tuesday to overturn that decision had been politically motivated.

The increases are set to take effect immediately but will not be charged retroactively. and agencies


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