Treasury eager to impose congestion charge in Tel Aviv


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Senior officials in the Israeli Ministry of Finance are drawing up plans to combat the increasing congestion on Israeli roads, including congestion charges for vehicles entering the country’s major cities during the morning and evening rush hours. The plan will be submitted to Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and if approved it will become part of the Economic Arrangements Act, which is linked to the budget, sources close to the matter told Globus. The plan is particularly in demand for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area due to the massive increase in the number of cars on the road since the end of the Covid lockdown and delays in building the area’s diverse public transportation systems. The situation is expected to worsen in the next few years with the advent of low-cost electric cars, exacerbating congestion. Tel Aviv is likely to be the first city where the congestion charge is levied between 7am and 10am and 4pm and 6pm. The fee, which will likely be around 10 shekels per day, will be collected electronically through various high-tech methods such as roadside cameras or smart chips in cars. Because of the technology component, it will likely take up to two years to implement the plan once it is approved. In recent years, this plan was enthusiastically promoted by the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Finance and the Tel Aviv municipality, but former Finance Minister Israel Katz vehemently opposed it. It is unclear whether Avigdor Lieberman will support the plan. The plan will add an estimated NIS 1.5 billion to state coffers, two thirds of which will be used to increase the public transportation budget and one third to reduce the cost of an annual vehicle license for all drivers. A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on Israel last December recommended that Israel levy a congestion tax, starting with the greater Tel Aviv area. The experience of cities such as London and Stockholm, which have imposed congestion charges, has been very positive, the report said, with waiting time reduced in traffic jams by up to 30%. A spokesman for the Finance Ministry declined to comment on the report and a source close to Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “The new minister has just started his job and will need to formulate policy on this issue, which is not the most urgent topic on the agenda.” Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on June 18, 2021 © Copyright Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021


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