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Modified fuel tax "would benefit regions"

A proposed change in a kerosene tax for domestic flights is a key factor in boosting regional airports, according to supporters.

A group of parliamentarians from centre-right and rightwing parties said the funds would help bolster Switzerland's competitive edge and recognise the importance of aviation.

The issue comes to a nationwide vote on November 29, alongside two highly controversial issues: a proposed ban on the construction of minarets and on the export of weapons and other war materiel.

Currently the government and parliament spend about SFr40 million ($39.7 million) of the total SFr60 million annual revenue from the kerosene tax on road safety measures. The remainder goes towards the federal coffers.

Under the proposed change, the SFr40 million will instead be used for aviation safety and environmental measures, with road transport receiving nothing.

"Safe, modern and competitive airports contribute to regional economic growth and are in the interest of the whole population," said parliamentarian Thomas Hurter.

Switzerland has 11 regional airports across the country and three national airports.

Opponents of the constitutional amendment, including the Greens and some centre-left Social Democrats, argue flights out of Switzerland should also be subject to the proposed tax reform.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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