The Stockholm congestion tax (Trängselskatt i Stockholm), also found referred to as the Stockholm congestion charge, is a congestion pricing system implemented as a tax which is levied on most vehicles entering and exiting central Stockholm, Sweden. The congestion tax was implemented on a permanent basis on August 1, 2007, after a seven-month trial period between January 3, 2006 and July 31, 2006.
The primary purpose of the congestion tax is to reduce traffic congestion and improve the environmental situation in central Stockholm. The funds collected will be used for new road constructions in and around Stockholm.
A referendum was held in September 2006 a couple months after the end of the trial period. In the referendum the residents of Stockholm municipality voted yes and in 14 other municipalities voted no to implement it permanently. On October 1, 2006, the leaders of the winning parties in the 2006 general election, declared they would implement the Stockholm congestion tax permanently. The parliament approved this on June 20, 2007, and the congestion tax came into effect on August 1, 2007.
There are unmanned electronic control points (in Swedish: betalstation, literally payment station) at all entrances to this area. The congestion tax is applied on both entry and exit of the affected area.
|Time of day||Tax||In other currencies¹|
|00:00 – 06:29||0 SEK|
|06:30 – 06:59||10 SEK||1.06 EUR, 1.64 USD|
|07:00 – 07:29||15 SEK||1.59 EUR, 2.46 USD|
|07:30 – 08:29||20 SEK||2.11 EUR, 3.28 USD|
|08:30 – 08:59||15 SEK|
|09:00 – 15:29||10 SEK|
|15:30 – 15:59||15 SEK|
|16:00 – 17:29||20 SEK|
|17:30 – 17:59||15 SEK|
|18:00 – 18:29||10 SEK|
|18:30 – 23:59||0 SEK|
The bill can be delivered in three different ways. By default delivery by mail to the vehicle owner's registered address, or opting for electronic delivery to the vehicle owner's Internet bank, or opting for a direct debit arrangement called Autogiro which allows the tax to be automatically deducted from the vehicle owner's bank account when the bill is due.
Failure to pay the tax within the allotted time results in a reminder bill being sent with an added 500 SEK fee. If the tax along with the reminder fee is still unpaid within 30 days after the reminder bill was sent, the case will be forwarded to the Swedish Enforcement Administration which adds an additional fee of at least 600 SEK, and the vehicle owner will be noted in the Enforcement Register unless payment is made.
The Essingeleden motorway, part of European route E4, that goes through the congestion tax affected area is also exempt, as it is the main route by-passing central Stockholm with no other viable alternatives present in the vicinity. All exits and entrances of Essingeleden that are within the congestion tax area have control points placed at them.
For those living on the island of Lidingö or otherwise often traveling there, an optional DSRC transponder can be used also to more accurately identify the vehicles, as an incorrect identification results in the Lidingö exemption rule not taking effect (see Geographic exemptions above). The DSRC transponders that were used during the congestion tax trial period are useless now and should be returned to the Swedish Road Administration.
Initially this was planned as a congestion fee, not a tax. But the Swedish government ruled that this kind of endeavor was considered a tax and not a fee, and thus this was made a governmental tax, not a local tax, as municipalities in Sweden are not allowed to create new taxes.
The Road Administration have claimed that traffic passing in and out of the cordon reduced by between 20 and 25% during the period of the trial, and that air quality improved; after the trial, traffic volumes built up again. 96% complied with paying the tax on time, which raised 399 m SEK during the period.
It was only the referendum in Stockholm Municipality that the at the time reigning government would use as a basis for the decision. The municipalities surrounding Stockholm in Stockholm County, especially those which are part of the Stockholm urban area, showed discontent with the fact that the people of those municipalities get no say whether the congestion taxes will be implemented permanently. A substantial number of the inhabitants of the nearby municipalities travel to and from work through the congestion tax area. Therefore several of these municipalities decided also to have local referendums. A municipality is allowed to hold a consultative referendum at any time, but as the congestion tax had to be decided at the national parliament level it was unclear how the results would be interpreted if the government there changed after the 2006 general election which was held the same day as these referendums were held.
Environmental fees/congestion tax means that fees will be charged in road traffic with the purpose to reduce queuing and improve the environment. The incomes will be returned to the Stockholm region for investments in public transport and roads.
In the other municipalities the question on the ballots were (translated from Swedish):
Do you believe that congestion tax should be permanently introduced in Stockholm ?
|Total excluding Stockholm||324,786||39.8%||60.2%|
The Social Democratic government prior to the 2006 general election (cabinet Persson) stated that they would only take into consideration the results of the referendum held in Stockholm Municipality, while the opposition parties (Alliance for Sweden) stated that they would take into consideration the results of referendums the other municipalities as well if they won the election.
The opposition parties won the election and before they formed government (cabinet Reinfeldt) their party leaders announced on October 1, 2006 to implement the congestion tax permanently, and that the revenue would go entirely to new road constructions in and around Stockholm instead of entirely to public transport in Stockholm as it was during the trial period. The parliament approved the congestion tax on June 20, 2007, for reintroduction on August 1, 2007.