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SWISS VOTERS REJECT VIGNETTE PRICE HIKE. SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Swiss voters have resoundingly rejected the government’s plan to increase the price of the annual motorway vignette from 40CHF to 100CHF (£27-68).
An unexpected 60.5% of citizens voted against the proposal, which also included a 40CHF two-month vignette for tourists, and shifting responsibility for nearly 400km of roads from the regional to the national authorities.
So what happens next?
The Swiss Embassy in London told @DriveEurope on Friday that, ‘The government will take note of the result after the vote. If the increase of the vignette price and transfer of some road networks to the national authority is rejected, the government can still make future proposals on the way forward after further deliberation.’
Before the vote, transport minister Doris Leuthard hinted that fuel duty could rise by up to 9c per litre to pay for road improvements if the vignette rise was voted down.
That news caused a storm which may come to be credited with shifting a battle that polls had said was too close to call.
The most likely alternative would be bad news for foreign motorists. The 100CHF vignette itself struggled through parliament. Right up until December 2012 most parties accepted a rise to 70CHF.
With citizens also voting against exceptions for tourists, a take it or leave it 70CHF vignette looks to be on the cards.
Also uncertain is the effect this Swiss vote will have on negotiations over a ‘foreign driver’ charge in Germany, first proposed because German drivers have to pay to drive in neighbouring countries.
Discussions on that charge were postponed two weeks ago for the final round of Coalition negotiations starting, no doubt coincidentally, tomorrow.
update 25.11.13: according to local press, via thelocal.ch, the transport ministry is working on ‘a new proposal for a road traffic fund that will be submitted for public consultation next year’.