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Permanent Pricing Gets Green Light in Sweden

Stockholm has just completed its congestion pricing trial. Thanks to broad public support, parliament voted to make the fee permanent. Will New York be in the same position years from now? The Local (Sweden) reports:

Sweden's parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of a permanent road toll for Stockholm in a bid to reduce congestion, with the scheme kicking off on August 1.

The system is aimed at reducing traffic and pollution in the city, and the revenue is to be used for road improvement in the Stockholm area. The toll was broadly supported by deputies, who cast their votes several times on individual aspects of the bill rather than on one overall proposal. The toll was operated on a trial basis last year and exceeded expectations of a 10 to 15 percent reduction of cars entering and leaving the capital, registering instead an average fall of between 20 and 25 percent.

Stockholm residents voted to adopt the congestion charge in a referendum held in September 2006 in conjunction with the country's legislative elections. The Swedish capital will join other cities such as London, Rome and Singapore which have already introduced toll schemes.

All vehicles except buses and foreign-registered cars that enter or exit central Stockholm on weekdays during the peak hours of 6:30 am to 6:29 pm will be required to pay a fee. Electric cars and hybrid vehicles will be exempt from the toll until 2012.

Photo: zeraien/Flickr

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