The Idea For a State-Owned Transport Network Company is Dropped – NO Reduction in Vehicle Taxes

Anne Berner, the minister of transport and communications, explaining the need for road network reforms for the press in April 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Anne Berner, the minister of transport and communications, explaining the need for road network reforms for the press in April 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The idea of a proposed state company that would have been responsible for the condition and development of the transport network in Finland is dropped.

Anne Berner (Centre), the minister of transport and communications, suggested last week that the operations of the company would have been funded, for example, by fees collected for the use of the transport network. In return, the transport taxes, including motorcar tax and vehicle tax, would have been removed to lighten the costs for car owners.

In discussions and social media, people argued that such a solution would only have benefited the rich “upper class” while purchasing a new car. The removal of vehicle tax would have benefited new car buyers for 180 euros per car, while the road fees for car users would have been about 539 euros per year. A reduction in fuel tax would have saved about 60 euros in a year for an average driver.

The road for the campaign was bumpy from the beginning. At one point, the Centre party lobbied the need for improving the Finnish road network with a picture of a potholed road, taken somewhere in Russia.

Prime Minister Sipilä (Centre) announced late on Monday evening that the planned state traffic company will not see daylight during this government’s term. According to Sipilä, the feedback indicates “clearly” that the removal of transport taxes cannot be part of the solution of developing the Finnish transport network.

In many car dealer shops, the sales had stalled because of the proposed removal of vehicle tax. One sales chief almost “swallowed his evening tea down the wrong way” after hearing the news on TV. “This is really great news. Maybe the wheels will start spinning again,” he said.