Solvik-Olsen warns Oslo against unnecessary use of extreme tolls
Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen (Progress Party) warns politicians in Oslo against abusing the opportunity to triple the tolls on days with high air pollution.
On Wednesday, the local regulations “on temporary increases in toll road tariffs in Oslo” came into force. It gives politicians in the capital the opportunity to raise today’s toll into Oslo with 300 per cent on days with particularly high air pollution.
This means that a diesel car that has to drive to Oslo during the peak hours on such days must pay NOK 177 kroner in tolls. For a vehicle weighing 3.5 ton, the price during rush hour will be NOK 579.
It was a majority of the parties in Oslo who voted for the triple fee against the votes from The Progress Party (Frp) and Red (Rødt).
Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen (Frp) says this is a regulation the politicians in Oslo and Akershus have requested themselves:
– We all work for better air quality, but politicians in Oslo and Akershus should think carefully before they use this tool, the Minister of Transport says in a press release on Wednesday.
He says that residents who have to go to work, pick up children in kindergarten and shop, are penalized financially. He believes air pollution could have been fought in other manners.
– Among the positive measures is better cleaning of the roads, so that the dust is reduced. Locally, environmental requirements can be met when buying buses and other vehicles, says the Minister for Transport.
The money that are collected on such days i to be used to reduce car traffic and at the same time offer free public transport.
Fiend of the car
Frps Group Leader and member of the Transport Committee, party veteran Carl I. Hagen, is not surprisingly at least as critical to the toll hikes as his party colleague. He calls the tripling “crazy and non social”, pointing out, among other things, that newer diesel and gasoline cars barely release any NOx.
– On top of that, the city council a year ago decided that petrol and newer diesel cars should be excluded from the tripling. This the city council has decided not to follow up. It indicates that these emergency rates have more with dislike of cars than environmental considerations, says Hagen in a comment to NTB.
Oslo Frp has therefore followed up with a proposal to the City Council to incorporate more exceptions from the toll rates. The party believes that petrol and hybrid cars and also vehicles that satisfy Euro VI requirements must be excluded from the toll increase and that the measures should not be implemented until these exceptions are incorporated into the regulation.
No good plans were in place
Environment and Transport City Councilor, Lan Marie Berg (MDG), does however not heed the criticism, showing among other things to that 200,000 of Oslo’s inhabitants live in areas with dangerously high air pollution. She also points out that children, elderly people and people with respiratory distress are forced to stay indoors.
– It’s totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, there were no proper plans to reduce air pollution when we took over the City Council. The bourgeois parties ruled Oslo for 18 years without taking sufficient responsibility for the health of the residents, she says.
Berg says she agrees with Solvik-Olsen that something must be done to fix the air pollution problems, but with the difference that the City Council actually does something about the problem.
NTB Scanpix / Norway Today