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Sweden Prepares to Impose a Congestion Tax
Stockholm, Sweden prepares to adopt a London-style congestion charge early next year. The trial will be subject to a public referendum.

Stockholm toll control pointDespite polls showing the opposition of a majority of Stockholm residents, a congestion tax trial is scheduled to begin in the Swedish capital early next year. The Green Party succeeded in pushing the trial program, but it must be approved by referendum to continue beyond July 31, 2006.

During the seven month trial that begins January 3, the tax will remain low with motorists paying up to 60 kronor (US $7.35) a day for the privilege of driving in the city. The 10 to 20 kronor fee is assessed each time a vehicle passes one of 18 "control stations" surrounding the city center. Computer giant IBM landed the primary contract to operate the complicated payment and motorist tracking system. Those who forget to pay will be charged up to 630 kronor (US $77).

In the only public referendum on the congestion tax issue to date, seventy-four percent of voters in Edinburgh, Scotland rejected a congestion tax proposal in February. London's Chamber of Commerce reported that 84 percent of retailers saw a significant drop in business when the UK capital adopted a congestion charge.