New Belgian regional governments to punish polluting cars
Wallonia: public transport and CO2-based taxation
“We have a common objective to reduce CO2 emissions and the number of vehicles in the city,” says new Walloon Mobility Minister, Philippe Henry (Ecolo). The question is how he will do this. The visions of the Walloon and Brussels governments are very much different. Unlike Brussels, where road-pricing is on the table, the Walloon landscape is much less urban.
Policy goes in two directions. The first is expanding the public transport offer and the number of cycling paths. The second is changing car taxation based on cars’ weight, power, and pollution. Like in Flanders, less polluting vehicles will pay less, with budget neutrality assured by more income from polluting vehicles.
Brussels wants to introduce road-pricing. “We first want to talk to other regions. That’s why we haven’t proposed modalities on new taxation,” says the spokesperson for new Brussels Mobility Minister, Elke Van den Brandt (Groen).
Brussels doesn’t fear the policy of the new Flemish government, where eco party Groen is in the opposition. “They have a government that is close to Voka and the FEB. These two organizations are in favor of road-pricing. Discussions should be possible. Congestion in Brussels costs the state 8 billion euros a year. If not for ecological reasons, road-pricing should be considered for economic reasons,” says the cabinet.
Road-pricing, however, does not seem to be on the table in other regions. If talks with other regions amount to nothing, Brussels will go ahead and change things on its own. The urban toll for cars entering the city was already proposed in August.