Support rises for congestion charge

The majority of Stockholmers are against the use of congestion charges, but supporters have closed the gap slightly and are not far behind, according to a recent poll conducted by pollsters Temo for Dagens Nyheter.

47 percent of Stockholm inhabitants would vote ‘no’ if the referendum on the congestion charge – strictly speaking a congestion tax – which came into operation for a 6-month trial period on January 3, were to take place today.

The ‘yes’ side was not far behind. 44 percent of polled respondents said they would vote ‘yes’ if the referendum were held today.

The official referendum to accept or decline the use of congestion charges to decrease the amount of traffic in the city of Stockholm will take place on September 17 of this year.

Only habitants of Stockholm are allowed to vote on the issue.

In October of 2004, a similar study was conducted by DN and Temo.

At that time, 50 percent of those polled were against the tolls, while 43 percent were in favor. Margin of error for both studies was 3.5 percent.

“These are very moderate changes,” DN/Temo study leader Nicklas Källebring said.

“Since little has changed from autumn 2004 until now, it is hard to believe that the remaining trial time will influence opinion to a great extent,” Källebring added.

Despite the limited amount of time before the referendum, some representatives from opposition parties in Stockholm have decided to start a ‘network’ to promote the congestion charge.

Official opposition leadership in the Stockholm City Council is against congestion charges.

But opposition representatives who support the charge will network to make the tolls permanent and to have the income from motorists used for infrastructure investment in the Stockholm region.

“The important part of this network is to say ‘yes’ to a sensibly designed congestion charge, which we believe is needed in a major city like Stockholm,” Christian Democrat Anders Wijkman said.

The DN/Temo study is based on 1,002 telephone interviews with Stockholm residents between February 28 and March 7.

The Local