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New measures mooted Transalpine goods traffic comes under pressure

Transport Minister Sommaruga and poster of Alpine Initiative group

Sommaruga said the Alpine Initiative group, set up 30 years ago, was instrumental in changing Switzerland's transport policy.

(© Keystone/Urs Flüeler)

Transport Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has announced measures to speed up a shift of goods traffic from Swiss roads to rail.

The proposals include price reductions for cargo trains and higher fees for older and high-polluting trucks.

Sommaruga was speaking at an anniversary event on Saturday of the Alpine Initiative groupexternal link, which was founded 30 years ago. It aims to protect the Alpine region from the negative effects of transit traffic through Switzerland.

The association was the driving force behind a people’s initiative which was accepted in a nationwide vote, creating a political upset in 1994.

However, environmental groups have criticised that implementation of the initiative has been slow and the target of 650,000 annual transits by lorries has not been achieved.

The association has called for efforts to further reduce CO2 emissions by banning diesel lorries crossing the Alps as of 2035.

However, the lobby group for the road transport sectorexternal link has dismissed attempts to tighten environmental regulations. It said such demands were unrealistic. Instead the lobby group called on the governments in neighbouring Germany and Italy to push ahead plans to improve their railway lines.

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