Brussels: congestion charge or urban toll?
This Thursday, the Brussels government should announce which new mobility toll system it will introduce by the end of its legislature. Basing its decision on the latest study from Stratec, Brussels will either implement an urban toll or a congestion charge. Prices could vary from 3 to 12 euros per day, and they could also change depending on the hour.
After the Walloon and Flemish Regions closed the door on any kilometer tax, the Brussels government decided to switch from plan A to plan B. With its desire to reduce pollution and traffic congestion in the Region, Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt and the entire Brussels government promised to make progress regardless of the attitude of the two neighboring Regions. Brussels wants to make motorists pay for using its roads.
In July, Brussels validated the start of the preliminary phase of the smartmove.brussels project and reaffirmed its ambition to introduce an intelligent kilometer tax. The government should unveil its plan on Thursday. Basing its decision on a study by Stratec, two models are being put forward.
“A daily zonal toll (congestion charge) at the regional level would allow effective action to be taken on road mobility into, from, and to the region without discriminating against the outside. An alternative to congestion charge could be an urban toll – to be further analyzed”, develops Stratec.
At what cost?
Stratec has already created different scenarios in its first study from 2013. In the case of an urban toll, prices could range from 3 to 12 euros. Back in 2013, the bureau estimated that the system started being dissuasive and profitable above 3 euros per day.
However, back in February, some around the negotiation table emitted the idea to fix the toll price on the price of a Stib/Mivb ticket, or 2,10 euro.
Rates could even vary depending on the time. Prices could be higher during rush hour while the toll could become free during the weekends or bank holidays. However, Stratec warns that other reforms are needed.
“It’s advisable to carry out tax reforms in parallel and in addition to the congestion charge or urban toll. Full or simultaneous compensation doesn’t seem to make sense”, notes the bureau.