Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why road tolls are the work of the devil

I've already written about how the Swedish politicians are increasingly adopting the terrible Norwegian way of financing basal infrastructure, where billions of kronor are wasted every single year in administration of toll roads and interest on loans.

It seems Socialdemokraterna are prepared to take this even a step further, because obviously increased income and housing taxes and a new net wealth tax that they've already promised isn't enough:

Kongressen fattade på torsdagen beslut om att i högre grad än i dag låta
bilisterna själva betala nya infrastruktursatsningar med så kallade brukar- och

We need more road tolls, and we need to finance the roads in the worst possible way, both from a social point of view and from an economical point of view. If you're still wondering why this is such a bad idea, let me explain:

Road tolls are anti-social in nature, as they are a flat-rate tax on transportation that will hit low-income citizens unreasonably hard in comparison to the wealthier citizens. Would any social democratic politician dare to suggest a flat income tax of 100.000 SEK a year, no matter how much you actually make? Probably not.

Furthermore the tax hits you not based on income or wealth but solely based on where you live in relation to your job, the kindergarten, shops and public services.

I have to say I'm particularly shocked that a party claiming to be socialist is proposing something like this.

Now this, on the other hand, isn't really the socialist democratic party's strongest skills, but still... Collecting road tolls costs a lot of money. In 2008 the road tolls in Stockholm cost 380 million SEK, approximately 50% of the total income. In Norway, a country where they have made the collection of road tolls into an artform, 15,5 billion NOK out of 46 billion NOK that has been collected in road tolls during 1990-2007 was spent on administration and interest on loans. That's more or less 30% of tax payers money wasted on nothing. In one particular example the motorists are forced to pay 3,79 billion NOK in road tolls on a road that only costs 3,5 billion NOK to build...

There is absolutely no good reason to remove the building of new roads from the national budget and increase the costs of these dramatically by turning them into toll roads.

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