congestion pricing, Paris

Parisian Reluctance over Congestion Pricing

Translated, annotated and hyperlinked by Angus B. Grieve-Smith, February 13, 2007.

The Mobility Plan for Paris that will be debated [and adopted] by Parisian elected officials on February 12 and 13 hinges on the proposals to close (partially at least) the Georges Pompidou expressway, to install a lane reserved for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles on the Boulevard Périphérique [an eight-lane limited-access highway], and to limit automobile circulation in the center of Paris. However, there is no explicit mention of the implementation of “congestion pricing.”

London, Oslo, Stockholm and Singapore have all used this technique to limit access to their downtowns. Milan is expected to do the same in March 2007. In Paris the subject provokes, at this point, strong opposition. The suggestion of the Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, on November 13, to “request input on” the implementation of congestion pricing in Paris has met with unanimous opposition, even from the UMP [his own center-right party].

Françoise de Panafieu, conservative candidate for the next mayoral elections in the capital, has concluded that “a toll at the gates of Paris would not be possible.” Jean-Paul Huchon, Socialist president of the Ile de France [the greater Paris region], has declared himself to be “firmly against” the idea, arguing that it amounts to “a national avoidance of responsibility,” and “an admission of impotence” in transit finance. Paris’s Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, has concluded that this plan would antagonize elected officials from nearby municipalities “from the right and the left.”

Eight days after the Prime Minister’s speech, the Regional Infrastructure District of the Ile de France (Dreif), in the context of its new management plan, published a study of traffic in the Ile de France, taking a position in support of a toll for entering Paris. For Francis Rol Tanguy, director of the Dreif, the idea “should no longer be taboo.” The goal of the Dreif is to reduce automobile traffic and bring in funds to accelerate the rollout of mass transit across the region. (more…)