Trans-alpine traffic to be cut - but not yet

Parliament has agreed in principle to set up a system to limit the number of trucks crossing the Swiss Alps as part of efforts to put freight traffic onto rail.

This content was published on September 17, 2008 minutes

However, the target date for obliging freight companies to reserve slots for their trans-alpine trucks was delayed by about ten years to 2019 at the earliest. When the reservation system is in place, the annual number of transiting heavy-goods trucks will be limited to 650,000.

On Wednesday the House of Representatives followed the Senate in accepting the idea of the transit slots for trucks as well as agreeing to an improved rail infrastructure.

But it asked the government to launch negotiations with the European Union before legislating on details of the reservation system.

Environmental organisations have criticised the parliamentary decision to put off for a second time the target date, which they say flies in the face of a nationwide vote in 1994 calling for it to come into force by 2004.

The transport ministry says currently about 1.2 million trucks cross the Swiss Alps annually, mainly using the Gotthard road tunnel in central Switzerland. It is the main north-south thoroughfare between Germany and Italy.

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