Belgium’s flawed mobility budget ‘jeopardises ambitious projects’ at all levels, warn auto organisations

08 May 2017

08 May 2017

Belgium’s main auto organisations Febiac (manufacturers and importers), Renta (rentals), Taxio (car traders), and VAB and Touring (car sharing) have blasted the government’s plans for its ′mobility’ budget in a strongly-worded joint statement, saying that the plan is ′dead’ and is no longer a ′mobility’ budget at all.

They say: ′[The scheme] jeopardises ambitious [mobility] projects at the regional and local level for years to come,’ such as car sharing, rentals and public transport (train, tram, bus), whose use should have been encouraged by a proper mobility budget.

The scheme – now dubbed ′cash for car’ – was originally billed as the solution to Belgium’s endemic mobility problems – that there are too many company cars contributing to high congestion, and not enough use of other forms of mobility. However, when the government released its revised outline of the scheme, it was discovered that the government only planned to offer a cash sum to employees who got rid of their company car, rather than exchanging it for the original idea of a quota that could be used on alternative mobility options such as bicycles and tickets for public transport.

The organisations add: ′If you are a company aiming for sustainable, future-oriented multimodal mobility management, this proposal is a missed opportunity.’

The abandonment of the quota system means that those exchanging their company car for the money could simply buy a second-hand car instead – and so none of the aims of the scheme would be achieved. Also, with the €200-400 cash payment being so low, it is likely takers of the scheme will be minimal. The proposals reek of a cost-saving measure by the Belgian government. The associations claim the system will ′mainly be used to optimise tax.’

VAB claims that a proper mobility budget could greatly reduce Belgium’s pervasive congestion problems, by reducing the number of car trips by 15%.


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