Ever-increasing road tolls debt in Norway
One of Norway’s foremost experts on road tolls believes that politicians still have not understood the extent of their road toll decisions. “The road toll debt will just continue to increase,” Kjell Werner Johansen tells the magazine Motor.
Kjell Werner Johansen is among the first experts to be drawn on when road tolls are to be explained. He is the Assistant Director of the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI).
Johansen has, of course, closely followed this summer’s road toll plays and debate.
Despite the fact that the debate has been – and still is – very heated, he does not believe the politicians have the foggiest understanding of the extent of their decisions.
“No, they don’t. Road toll debt will increase significantly beyond the 58 billion that is currently owed, in the years to come. Every single year, much more debt is taken up than paid off.”
NOK 100 billion is not enough
Since the Solberg government took office in 2013, road toll projects – requiring a total of a massive NOK 235 billion, financed by road tolls – have been proposed.
That corresponds to in excess of NOK 93,000 per motorist.
“The NOK 100 billion that Carl I. Hagen wants to spend on erasing all road toll debt, will thus only cover less than half of what the government and Parliament have committed motorists to since 2013 alone,” Johansen explains.
He reminds that the NOK 235 billion may easily increase further.
“We have to keep in mind that many cost estimates are ballooning. Decisions by the Norwegian Parliament are based on projections. They can blow up,” Johansen asserts.
NAF, for its part, reacts to that politicians seem to be surprised by the road toll protests from the Norwegian population throughout this spring and summer.
“The weird thing is that it seems that politicians have not thought that people would protest. They can’t say that they haven’t been warned, though. Both NAF and others have repeatedly stated that such high road tolls are not sustainable,” Communications Manager of the Norwegian Automobile Owners Association (NAF), Camilla Ryste, states.
She points out that several parties have now come off their high horse and begun to talk about the road toll load being too large. Notably, after the protests have grown.
“That is a good thing, but it’s barely in time,” Ryste concludes.
© #Norway Today