Introducing a smart kilometer charge in the Brussels Region does not yet seem imminent for tomorrow. Because the PS continues to obstruct, and political discussions are going on, next to questions about technical operability. On the other hand, it’s getting clear the smart road pricing system on which €33,8 million already spent, will not be operational by the end of this legislature.
However, Brussels finance minister Sven Gatz (Open VLD) assures that the project is by no means in the freezer definitely. The Brussels government had intended to complete the intelligent mileage charge by the end of this legislature at the latest, thus switching from a tax on car ownership to a tax on car use in Brussels.
An agreement must still be found with Flanders and Wallonia (where the PS is also in government), which is not yet the case. But even within the Brussels government, the violins are not yet tuned when it comes to introducing the system.
The French-speaking socialists, for example, remain obstructive. “For us, this project no longer has any reason to exist, and we have moved on to something else,” summarizes Ridouane Shahid, PS group leader in the Brussels Parliament in the newspaper L’Avenir.
€33,8 million already spent
However, Minister Gatz is categorical in a reaction in the same newspaper. “The project is by no means in the freezer, even if the system that our teams are developing and testing will not be operational during this legislature.”
Both technical and financial, the project is also making progress. To date, 25 million euros have been spent on studies, the development of the app (which has already been tested by 1 140 testers), the purchase of licenses, etc. In addition, almost 8,8 million euros were spent on extending the ANPR camera network for automatic number plate recognition. The same cameras are also used to monitor the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
For 2023, 12,5 million has been budgeted for SmartMove. The overall project has been evaluated at 68 million euros but can count on a European contribution of 52 million. And just as he does not want to see those EU subsidies slip through his fingers, Minister Gatz, for instance, is also pressing ahead, but also because he supports the idea of introducing SmartMove.
“After the periods of confinement, commuters lose too much time in traffic jams again, also those who take public transport,” he says. “So, the question is not whether a smart tax per kilometer traveled will one day replace the existing traffic taxes, but when.”