Opposition is growing to government plans to upgrade Switzerland’s main roads, according to a new poll by the GfS research institute.
Just over half those surveyed said they were against the proposals, which go to a nationwide vote on February 8.
The main sticking point is the plan for a second Gotthard road tunnel through the Alps.
In the final poll before the ballot, 51 per cent said they would vote against the proposals, while only 32 per cent intended to vote in favour.
In a similar poll in December the electorate was more evenly split with supporters of the government-backed plans holding a narrow advantage – 41 per cent in favour over 40 per cent against.
While voting intention is more clear-cut now than it was last month, most of those polled still think the vote will be a close one.
Of those questioned, 42 per cent think the outcome will swing in the government’s favour while 40 per cent think the government will be defeated.
There has been a marked rise in opposition to plans to build a second road tunnel through the Gotthard – Switzerland’s main north-south axis through the Alps.
Of those polled 52 per cent said they opposed a second road tunnel while 39 per cent supported it – a reversal of December’s results which had 42 per cent against and 46 per cent in favour.
Although the proposals do not commit the government to a timetable or constitute a firm commitment to building a second road tunnel, they lay the constitutional foundations for its construction.
The government is also against the building of a second road tunnel, but was forced by parliament to include it in the proposals.
While opposition to a second road tunnel has grown, there is clear support for the government plans to ease traffic congestion around built-up areas.
The survey showed they received backing from 74 per cent of those polled.
The plans – a counterproposal to the so-called Avanti initiative which was launched in 2000 and later withdrawn – call for up to SFr350 million of public money to be set aside annually to tackle traffic congestion in and around major towns and cities.
That money would be used for building new roads and improving public transport.
There was also an increase among those polled in the number of people intending to vote on the road transport issue on February 8.
In December, 40 per cent said they would be voting – a figure which has now risen to 49 per cent.
But the road transport vote will not be the only issue the Swiss will be asked to decide on.
Government plans to link rents to the inflation rate rather than the mortgage rate will also be put before the electorate, as will a people’s initiative calling for life sentences for violent offenders considered a risk to society.
The latest poll was carried out by the GfS research institute in Bern on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – swissinfo’s parent company.
In the latest survey 51% of those polled said they would vote against the government plans, 32% for, and 17% were undecided.
The government plans call for easing traffic congestion in built-up areas, transferring more freight from road to rail, and the possibility of a second road tunnel through the Gotthard.
On February 8 the Swiss will also vote on two other issues – rents and violent offenders.
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