Belgian political parties about mobility of the future
With important elections coming soon, the sister car magazines AutoGids (Flemish) and Le Moniteur Automobile (French) have asked the major political parties in Belgium what their views are on mobility of the future.
Mobility problems are always scoring higher on the urgency list of many people. That’s why AutoGids/Le Moniteur Automobile have organized a small survey about the intentions of the major political parties to cure the mobility problems in a densely populated country like Belgium.
In all 12 parties responded, 6 Flemish and 6 French speaking parties. On both sides of the linguistic barrier the ultra right wing parties, Vlaams belang and Parti Populaire, didn’t answer the survey.
All parties got 10 open questions about mobility and 6 closed ones. Difficult or sensible items like ‘salary cars’, road pricing or fiscal reforms, the quality of infrastructure were tackled. The closed questions served to get a graphic image of the points of view of the different parties.
In fact most of the parties make the same analysis of the problems arising. There is a huge problem of congestion, we have to look at public transport and other, alternative means of transport, like biking, and we have to change the fiscal scheme.
Solving these problems is another matter. There opinions can be very different. There is a clear difference between the political parties forming the government the last five years and the opposition. The first want to work on infrastructure, on the so-called missing links. They are more hesitant to tackle the problem of the ‘salary cars’ or the tax reform.
The opposition parties want far more investments in public transport. Also alternative means of transport, especially biking, have to be promoted. Company cars have to be real ones, not ‘salary cars’ to compensate for high taxes on labour.
These differences between left and right can be observed in both parties of the country. The only difference between north and south (Flemish and French) is the preferred way of road pricing. Pay per kilometre in the north meets a vignette in the south and a city toll in Brussels.
Is the future electric?
No party is against electric cars, on the contrary. Most of them are also convinced that the electric grid can cope with an increasing demand. The only requirement is that it has to be ‘smart’. Nevertheless, they don’t put all eggs in one basket: we have to be open to other forms of alternative energy, like hydrogen.
Last but not least, a lot of parties (mostly left wing) think that decisions in these matters have to be made on a federal or European level. Whereas more nationalistic parties stick more to the regional or even local decision levels.