Sunday, December 22, 2013

Zug of war

They ain't just yodeling Dixie, but it's the same old tune of railroads, in Switzerland;
Less congestion on the streets, more seats on trains, half-hourly connections on main routes, expansion in all regions, better regulation of freight traffic – all this and much more is promised by a new bill known as FABI. Every canton is to get a slice of the action, worth CHF6.4 billion ($7.2 billion). 
“This is not a transport policy – it’s a wish list,” said rightwing Swiss People’s Party senator Ulrich Giezendanner, who also owns a trucking firm. “Every person added something in for their region. And this was sanctioned in parliament because people were fearful their region would end up with nothing.” 
Evi Allemann, a centre-left Social Democratic Party member of the House and president of the Transport and Environment Association, disagreed. “We have a railway network that has been built on the idea that all regions are well-connected,” she said. 
That's the problem, Evi; it's political connections that funnel the money, not the market. As Herr Giezendanner puts it later in the article;
“Consumers will foot the bill for what the politicians want,” criticised Giezendanner, who says he is not against regulating the financing of transport. “However, you have to know where the money is going to come from. In Switzerland, that is no longer clear.”
....Another criticism by Giezendanner is that roads generally get a raw deal. “You have to realise that 15% of traffic in Switzerland goes by rail and 85% uses the roads. But we’re only investing in rail. That means there won’t be enough money for road traffic,” he added.

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