foto Peter Hilz (C)

Brussels mobility minister plans to introduce smart road charging

The Brussels regional government is looking at the introduction of road charging for drivers entering the Flemish and Belgian capital by car.  The Brussels authorities hopes to co-ordinate the introduction with similar measures in Flanders and Wallonia, but Brussels is determined to move ahead alone, if need be, says Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Flemish green).

The Brussels government favours greener road taxes and wants to introduce a form of road charging that takes account of the number of kilometres covered, the time and the emissions.

Elke Van den Brandt: “Everybody who comes to Brussels is aware of the congestion.  People who live or work here know how bad the air quality is.  Smart road charging is the answer.”

Ms Van den Brandt hopes a model can be developed together with Flanders though the outgoing Flemish mobility minister ditched the idea before the election. Don’t expect any toll booths soon.  The Brussels government hopes to use cameras using number plate recognition technology. Which zones will be affected by tolls still needs to be decided.

“We can vary the charge depending on the hour, where drivers enter the capital, emissions and the vehicle’s power” says Elke Van den Brandt. “A fixed tariff isn’t envisaged.”

Brusselers would be compensated by a reduction in car tax, but the situation for Flemish drivers heading into their capital is unclear. 

However, Ms Van den Brandt’s words have been labelled as “premature” by Brussels finance minister Sven Gatz (Flemish liberal), who would be directly involved in developing the measures.  He points out that Brussels first has to consult with Flanders and Wallonia within the framework of the national climate plan (intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions) and that the last time he looked no new Flemish or Walloon administrations had been installed.