Protests threaten Urban Growth Packages

Toll Station Urban GrowthDiscontinued Toll station. Photo: NTB / scanpix

Protests threaten Urban Growth Packages

Recent plays and decisions create doubts about the implementation of Urban Growth Packages financed by road tolls several places in Norway. Nedre Eiker scrapped such an agreement on Wednesday.


The councillor of Nedre Eiker did not get support by the municipal council for his proposal to postpone the treatment of toll walls and The Buskerud Urban Package II until after the autumn’s election. The dream of the Progress Party has thus come true, writes Dagsavisen Fremtiden.

The Conservatives, the Centre Party and an unaffiliated teamed up with the Progress Party to scrLabour the deal, according to TV 2.

“The only thing we should regret is that we are taking an about turn a little too late. We might have done it three or four years ago,” Group Leader of the Conservatives, Tor Tveter, spoke from the pulpit.

Mayor Bent Inge Bye (Labour) can’t hide his disappointment.

“It is sad. The opportunity to build out Drammen was wrecked. The state must cover much more of the road projects and public transport,” he tells TV 2.

Søviknes wishes to postpone the Bergen agreement

At the same time, Mayor of Os, Terje Søviknes (Progress Party), believes that a complete review of the entire Urban Growth Agreement for the Bergen region is needed.

“I recommend that we do not sign any agreement now. An election will soon be held. We believe it is wise that the new municipal council gets the opportunity to comment,” Søviknes, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Progress Party,-tells Bergens Tidende

Søviknes will present his plans at a meeting later in the day and will, after Bergens Tidende understands, win through in the Municipal Council of Os.

The debate on Toll roads and Urban Growth Packages has exploded in recent weeks. A poll on Tuesday shows that the People’s Action No to More Toll Roads currently is Bergen’s largest political party.

There are plans for Urban Growth Packages in and around a total of nine urban areas in Norway. All of them based on user financing, ie toll walls, as an important source of funding.


Urban Growth Packages

Urban Growth and Environment Packages have been signed for Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo area. The main objective is ostensibly for more to choose public transport, the Apostles horses or cycle over cars. The agreements, however, include road upgrades and extensions as well.

On Saturday, June 1st, there will be a total of 83 toll stations in and around Oslo, divided among three separate walls.

“It is very gratifying that the municipal council in Nedre Eiker has said no to Buskerud City Package II. Now it’s time to say no to Oslo Package III, something which The Progress Party in Oslo has already done!” top candidate for the Oslo Progress Party, Aina Stenersen, exclaims.

Oslo City Council for Environment and Transport, Arild Hermstad (Greens), however, rejects to NTB that it is prudent to touch the agreement.

“This is unanimously adopted by the Norwegian Parliament – the Minister of Transport promoted the case and got it through,” he refutes.

Stenersen’s party colleague, Jon Georg Dale, is currently managing the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

GPS tracking?

Toll roads opponents often highlight that this manner of financing urban growth and roads is anti-social because it affects families with children and the elderly who are dependent on cars.

At the same time, several studies, two of which have recently been published by Dagens Næringsliv, show that those most affected by Toll roads are men with higher education and medium to high income.

Several political parties are now advocating GPS tracking (aka road pricing) – ie payment based on how far you drive and when.

“That will provide a more accurate and fairer distribution of costs,” Leader of Labour, Jonas Gahr Støre, tells. VG.

LO wishes to investigate a scheme where salary, odometer and residence will determine how much you must fork out.

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© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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