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Switzerland fails transport shift

The Alps Initiative maintains that the Federal Council is not doing enough to encourage a transport shift. © Martin Putz / wikimediacommons

There are still too many trucks on Swiss roads, says the Swiss Federal Council in its transport shift report. Instead of planning concrete measures to shift goods onto rail, it now wants a new political discussion - which has prompted resistance.
In 2012 some 1.2 million trucks crossed the Swiss Alps. According to the constitution, only 650,000 are permitted until 2018. The Swiss government concludes in its transport shift report, published every two years, that this target cannot be achieved. It is now no longer proposing to reduce the number of trucks, but rather to address their environmental impact. Various prognoses assume that the environmental impact in the Alpine space caused by heavy traffic could be decreased by improvements to vehicles. Air pollution limits could thus in future be met.
The Alpine Initiative and the Greens are resisting this political discussion, as the constitution has for the last 20 years required that goods crossing the Alps should be transported on rail. Moreover the fuel efficiency of trucks has not improved in the last 25 years, with CO2 emissions rising strongly. To achieve a shift of goods onto rail, the Alpine Initiative is among other things demanding an increase in the maximum level permitted by the EU for the tax levied on heavy goods vehicles, i.e. the toll on trucks weighing over 3.5 tonnes,. The Swiss Government should also support an Alpine transit exchange for the entire Alpine space.
Sources and further information:
www.alpeninitiative.ch/alpeninitiative (de), www.bav.admin.ch/verlagerung/01600/01604 (de)