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9/20/2006
Sweden Rejects Congestion Charge Politicians
Voters in Sweden rejection the political party that imposed congestion charging in Stockholm. Suburban voters reject charge overwhelmingly.

Annika Billstrom
Voters in Sweden tossed out the Social Democrat party Sunday in elections where the issue of imposing of the congestion tax on motorists in the capital of Stockholm played a central role. Voters in all fourteen municipalities surrounding the city rejected the charge while a narrow 51.7 percent inside Stockholm -- those who would not ordinarily pay the tax -- supported it.

The winning four-party center-right Alliance ran on a platform opposed to the congestion tax. Stockholm's Social Democrat Mayor Annika Billstrom who introduced the charge earlier this year also lost her election. The Social Democrats had designed the referendum so that only those who do not pay the tax would have a say, ignoring suburban voters. Alliance officials pledge to consider all the results, placing the future of the 3 billion kronor (US $410 million) electronic tolling infrastructure in doubt.

In the only other referendum on the issue, seventy-four percent of voters in Edinburgh, Scotland rejected a congestion tax proposal in February 2005.

Source: Uncertain Road Toll Referendum (Sveriges Radio International (Sweden), 9/20/2006)



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