Enough is Enough, People are fed up with toll roads
The Stavanger region has seen the birth of a movement who says «enough is enough», as the politicians demand another NOK 25 billion ostensibly to pay for improved roads and public transport. The group has already held one demonstration and is planning for a bigger one on August 22nd. Trygve Faal has penned this article to explain why the movement against more Toll Roads has been established and reached 25.000 members in just a few days.
Many politicians have become very arrogant and actually do not listen to people anymore. Has seen this development for a long time, and it’s scary. One often sees it in political debates where they are more keen on arguing among themselves and put the blame on political opponents if things are not as they ought to be in the society, rather than telling the population what they intend to do to make people feel better in their everyday life. That is what people want to hear.
I think it’s rude to speak of it as a road toll. it is very provocative indeed that it’s called that and that it is still being used today after all the years they’ve robbed us of our money.
If somebody asks to borrow something from me and I say no, and then takes it from me anyway, I will call that a theft. A road toll is not a toll, it is highway robbery.
We must stop talking about it as a toll. Money people need to support themselves, providing their family with food, clothes, education, mortgages, student loan repayments, the children’s future and their retirement fund is stolen from them. This they take from us without our permission whenever we pass through these robbery stations on our way to perform our daily tasks.
Road projects do have a price tag
Road projects have a price tag, but what people wonder about is the following: Is there not enough money to be had from all the cars that pass through the existing toll plazas – private cars, businesses, the taxi industry, trucks passing through toll plazas, every day, all year round? If you take into consideration of all those who drive past the toll booths every day, all year round, and add road tax, weight tax, registration fee, one-time tax, VAT, re-registration fee, emission tax, fuel fee, and so on and so forth. Does that not amount to several billion over 15 years? Can they not provide the figures on how much money they collect from all this so people can see the revenue compared to what is spent on roads? People feel cheated as it is, and now it is enough. People use the car because they rely on it in their everyday life to perform their daily tasks. Public transport is not sufficient to meet people’s needs, and we live in a time-squeeze where we need to get to work on time and do things as a family. We, therefore, rely on the car to have enough time to achieve that.
The city package for Stavanger that is to be implemented is ratified without making any kind of consequence assessment. But we know that it will have major negative consequences for businesses, individuals who will have increased costs – and that it will also affect the housing market in the region negatively.
This will affect the housing market because the market value of homes in areas where they have placed robbery stations will drop. The prime example of this is Hundvåg / Buøy, where one has to pay for travelling both in and out of the district. This is very unfavourable for those who have a lot of debt where they risk losing big time if they are selling their home.
Areas that are not adversely affected will on the other hand experience a marked growth in property value.
This, in turn, can lead to very unfortunate results in the housing market where we can see the reoccurrence of an economic class division.
And in the middle of all this, we must not forget that the interest rate is going to be raised. Will people be able to cope with that on top of everything else?
Food prices and craftsmen
Food prices will also increase because shipping costs to stores will increase and they will send that extra bill to those who shop. Plumbers, craftsmen and anyone else who relies on a vehicle to move with their work tools around will also have increased costs and they will also push this extra expense over on the consumers. This leads to inflation.
Trade status will also notice it in terms of less turnover because people are going to shop less in areas where they have to pass rob stations, which in turn can lead to downsizing, closed stores – ultimately leading to increased unemployment. Those who work in, for example, the Kvadrat shopping mall are thinking a lot about this scenario at the moment.
If a politician believes that this is forgotten before the next election, they should know that the voters have the eternal reminder every time they see/drive through a robbery plaza. The contempt against politician’s increase every time the invoice arrives.
We have just been through an oil crisis in the region, and the last people in the region need is a bill of NOK 25 billion sent from the politicians who do not do what is best for the people, but exactly the opposite.
It’s all socially and economically unfair because it affects the hardest those who have the least resources and depend on the car. Something to think long and hard about for the voter at the next election.
The fact that they have chosen to set up a highway robbery point near the hospital is completely unbelievable.
There are also other forms of funding models to finance road projects than through toll roads.
Increase general taxes
The proposal from the People’s Action against more toll roads is not a bad idea. Their suggestion is that if we wish to improve our road standard this can be financed over the state budget by increasing the tax for each of us by a small sum. I think that everyone would accept it if a national effort was adopted to increase the standard of roads and collective traffic in Norway.
Then everyone would be paying for something that virtually everyone uses, and this will be perceived as much fairer. It is de facto motorists who foot almost the entire bill and it is, therefore, no wonder that anger arises among the population. Those who use public transport, bicycles and other means of transport are using the roads as well. Politicians have not done their job when they work against the wishes of the people. This they know, and therefore they do not dare to have a referendum on the matter. The outcome of that is a given. If it is proven that the people, unlikely but one never knows for certain, wish for this model, then all those who are opposed to it will accept the outcome as it follows a proper democratic process.
Tolls restrict the freedom of movement for the regular Joe, and that is very grave. People with little money are as dependant on the car as those who have a lot of money and can afford whatever tolls the politicians impose on every one of us.
© Nok er Nok / Rogalands avis / #Norway Today