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UmVerkehr

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  • Theo Schmidt
    In March the Swiss population will have the chance to vote for a change in our constitution, which would require laws to be passed such that private motorised
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 19, 1999
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      In March the Swiss population will have the chance to vote for a change in
      our constitution, which would require laws to be passed such that private
      motorised traffic volume will be halved within ten years.

      This sounds quite radical, but isn't really, as this corresponds to our
      traffic volume in the 1970s, which was already too much. Also, Switzerland
      is probably that western-type country in the world where it is easiest to
      not use a car: good public transport, short distances, good cycling
      facilities, etc. Also there is no car manufacturer controlling the
      government like in most countries. Switzerland is also one of the few
      countries where the population can actually directly demand action by the
      government on any issue.

      Unfortunately, Switzerland is also rich, so that very many people have cars
      (nearly half, actually). So, have-got, will-use, as John says. And the
      have-nots don't vote.

      The Initiative called UmVerkehr suggests several mechanisms by which the
      desired change can be achieved. If the changes are implemented, over 80% of
      the population would profit, including most car drivers, because there
      would be less congestion and they would actually pay less for their
      motoring. Only really heavy users without a specific use (i.e. travelling
      salesman) would end up paying more.

      Unfortunately this is a complex issue which is difficult to communicate and
      is threatening to end up with the classic left-right political devide with
      the Social Democrats and the Green Party in favour and all other parties
      against. Also, politicians are mostly so scared of the car lobby (dealers
      and oil companies) that only few are actively supporting the Initiative. In
      spite of a study by the government supporting all arguments of the
      promoters, including 50'000 more jobs, except the realisibility within ten
      years, goverment ministers spoke against the Initiative, saying that
      "traffic could not be regulated", although present traffic is in fact
      already very heavily regulated.

      You can have a look at www.umverkehr.ch, however the site is in German
      only. The promoters have far, far, less money than the motor and oil
      lobbies, but more imagination, and of course we are right and they are
      scared. It will be an interesting few months.

      Theo Schmidt, Switzerland
    • Marcus Jones
      ... {Interesting discussion of Swiss traffic reduction proposal snipped) ... of course we are right and they are ... This sounds rather like the situation here
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 19, 1999
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        --- Theo Schmidt <tschmidt@...> wrote:
        {Interesting discussion of Swiss traffic reduction
        proposal snipped)
        > only. The promoters have far, far, less money than
        > the motor and oil lobbies, but more imagination, and
        of course we are right and they are
        > scared. It will be an interesting few months.

        This sounds rather like the situation here in the UK.
        The Government has been persuaded (at least in part)
        that something has to be done about traffic. See its
        Integrated trasnport White Paper
        http://www.detr.gov.uk/itwp/paper/index.htm

        However, it is also clear that the British public have
        not been persuaded of this, not helped by the attitude
        of our media who are clearly influence by the
        advertising budgets of the car industry. The result is
        inertia and a failure to take difficult decisions.
        Success in Switzerland would benefit everyone as it
        would show other governments that the car lobby can be
        faced down.

        Marcus
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      • Ross or Judy
        Hi Theo and all: Have you heard much discussion following the WTO protests in Seattle ? I went to a WTO protest follow up meeting yesterday. Its very
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 19, 1999
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          Hi Theo and all:
          Have you heard much discussion following the WTO protests in Seattle ?
          I went to a WTO protest follow up meeting yesterday. Its very encouraging.
          There were so many people from around the world that are united against
          this undemocratic, unelected world government. This governing body , right
          arm of the multinationals, has had the California clean air act repealed
          because it is a barrier to trade ! It is these guys that continue to push
          autos.
          Now we have them on the run . We will persevere and eventually tear down
          the fossil fuel era.
          Now is the time to put the pressure on.
          Ross
        • William Volk
          ... I read a great editorial that basically said the WTO Protests could be the beginning of a real movement IF it s converted into political action. Bill
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 19, 1999
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            Ross writes:

            >Have you heard much discussion following the WTO protests in Seattle ?
            >I went to a WTO protest follow up meeting yesterday. Its very encouraging.
            >There were so many people from around the world that are united against
            >this undemocratic, unelected world government. This governing body , right
            >arm of the multinationals, has had the California clean air act repealed
            >because it is a barrier to trade ! It is these guys that continue to push
            >autos.
            >Now we have them on the run . We will persevere and eventually tear down
            >the fossil fuel era.
            >Now is the time to put the pressure on.

            I read a great editorial that basically said the WTO Protests could be the
            beginning of a real movement IF it's converted into political action.

            Bill
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