Campaigners have quickly amassed support to defeat the proposed 150% hike in the cost of Switzerland’s annual motorway charge. They are also against the cheaper short stay tourist vignette.
With 32 days remaining, campaigners against the 150% hike in the cost of Switzerland’s motorway vignette have already far surpassed the 50,000 signatures they need to force a national referendum on the issue.
The Swiss system of direct democracy allows citizens the final say on any legislation if they can marshall enough support via petition within three months.
By the end of May over 70,000 signatures had been collected. The petition closes on 13 July 2013.
Both houses of the Swiss parliament approved the hike to 100CHF per year (£70) in March after long running opposition from the lower house was overcome. The annual vignette currently costs 40CHF.
Campaigners are also against the proposed 40CHF two month vignette for tourists on the basis that Swiss citizens using motorways rarely will have to pay the full amount while tourists paying the reduced fee will almost certainly use the national network.
If the referendum is granted, as looks certain, the initiative against the fee hike will have to win a majority of citizens voting, and a majority of the cantons (or districts) voting too, the so-called double majority.
Meanwhile, the right wing ‘Autopartei’ (aka Freedom Party of Switzerland) is attempting a comeback on a platform of higher speed limits, ringfenced motoring taxes and an expanded motorway network. The party previously achieved some electoral success in the 1990s. However, infighting later saw members transfer en-bloc to the more moderate Swiss People’s Party which adopted much of AP’s manifesto on immigration, law and order, regulation, the EU, etc.