Congestion commission finding few solutions

Too many conflicting interests blamed for lack of progress in committee established to find solutions for Copenhagen’s worsening traffic

October 16th, 2012 1:38 pm| by admin

Members of the commission established to find ways to reduce Copenhagen's traffic warn that little progress is being made finding solutions, according to public broadcaster DR.

The 24-person congestion commission was established after the government failed to garner enough political backing to follow through with an election promise to introduce a congestion charge for traffic into and out of Copenhagen.

But according to sources in the commission, few alternative solutions have yet been found to tackle Copenhagen's worsening traffic.

“If you’re waiting for a big proposal that can be adopted instead of the congestion ring, you will be disappointed,” an anonymous commission member told DR.

Another commission member, Morten Kabell (Enhedslisten) from the City Council, also warned that the committee may fail.

“I fear that the congestion commission won’t be able to make any of the big decisions that are necessary if we want to solve Copenhagen’s traffic problems,” he told DR.

The city’s congestion zone was particularly disliked by lead opposition party Venstre, which argued that the toll would damage Copenhagen’s businesses.

Venstre MP Martin Geertsen told DR that the commission was always going to face problems finding solutions because the commission’s members – which includes both pro-business and pro-environmental lobby groups – have too many conflicting interests.

“It was overwhelmingly naïve to believe that we would be getting anything out of this bureaucratic monster,” Geertsen said.

The transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen (Socialdemokraterne), still believes, however, that the commission will be ready to deliver concrete proposals when they reach their 1 January 2013 deadline.

“I am convinced that the main ideas that the commission presents will both seem obvious to most of us but will also be a little surprising and alternative,” Kristensen told DR. “What we then need to ensure is that the ideas become a reality and that requires both a combination of finances and will.”

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