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Danish transport minister backs plan to introduce road congestion charges

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish transport minister backs plan to introduce road congestion charges
Denmark could introduce congestion charges on specific roads and areas by the end of the decade. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s transport minister Thomas Danielsen says he backs a long-term plan to impose road pricing, meaning car drivers would pay charges based on where they drive.

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The Minister of Transport told newspaper Jyllands-Posten he sees road pricing, in which motorists pay directly for driving on particular roads or in particular areas, as a viable long-term option for Denmark, and that costs should be lower in rural areas than urban ones.

“I have no doubt that we will introduce road pricing for personal transport in the long term. It will be appropriate and wise, and that is my clear ambition,” Danielsen, who represents the Liberal Party, said to Jyllands-Posten.

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“We must make it cheap to drive out in the countryside, where there is a long distance between the houses, where you often need two cars, and where there is not much public transport, and expensive in the cities, where there is congestion and a lot of public transport,” he also said.

Danielsen said that his party had opposed the measure back in 2011 when the Social Democrats had proposed it because payment and tracking technology were not ready. 

The congestion charge proposed for Copenhagen at the time would have been “unfair”, he said.

“Now, we can impose payments in an intelligent way for driving in places where there is most congestion,” he said.

Although road pricing will not appear in Denmark in the imminent future, the country will trial a system in two months’ time in a test involving 2,200 motorists to be taxed, according to Jyllands-Posten. The trial will take place primarily in Aarhus and Copenhagen and last until next year.

Its objective is to give motorists extra incentive to take public transport if they habitually drive on congested roads, Jyllands-Posten writes.

One of the lead researchers behind the trial, Ninette Pilegaard of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), told the newspaper that road pricing could realistically be expected to come into broad effect around 2030.

This means it is unlikely to be implemented by the current government, with at least one general election likely to take place before the system is ready.

But Danish governments cannot avoid introducing the tax at some point, Danielsen said in the interview, in which he also called road pricing a “winner” for both cities and the countryside.

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12tuffy 2023/03/23 04:25
So when this 'driving tax' comes in does it replace the green tax that we have to pay now ? Or will a proportion of it be made available for repainting of the dangerously faded white lines on the many roads in the countryside that are hardly visible at all between dusk & dawn on the wet roads....

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