Alpine protection instead of development of transit routes
Various countries are planning to increase the capacity of their trans-Alpine road routes. The Alpine Initiative is opposing these plans. At its general assembly in Bellinzona TI, it adopted a resolution to this effect. The same resolution was also signed by the organisation “Initiative Transport Europe” in Cuneo/Italy. Like the Alpine Initiative, the ITE is striving to reduce the im-pact and risks of European freight transport to a level that is not harmful for humans, animals, plants or their habitats.
“A second bore for the Gotthard tunnel would only create new problems,” said Mario Branda, Mayor of Bellinzona when he welcomed the Alpine Initiative to the capital of Ticino. He, like the Alpine Initiative, is fighting against a second bore for the Gotthard road tunnel. While the tunnel is being renovated, trucks and cars could be transported by rail, according to studies conducted by the Swiss government.
Manuel Hermann, Policy Director of the Alpine initiative said, “Since the 1970s there have never been as many plans to develop transit routes across the Alps”. This applies to Austria, France, Italy and also Switzerland. The doubling of the Tauern tunnel in Austria has shown where this will lead us – within four years, the tunnel attracted nearly 20% more traffic.
Switzerland is in a unique position. The Gotthard rail base tunnel will open in 2016. Thanks to this new rail capacity, transit freight traffic can be transferred from road to rail. “Over the last thirty years, the population has repeatedly voted in favour of a transfer from road to rail. Now Parliament wants to build a second bore, thwart the transfer from road to rail and devalue the billions that have been invested in the new transalpine rail base tunnel,” said Jon Pult, President of the Alpine Initiative.
The Alpine Initiative and the ITE are committed to sustainable transport that is compatible with humans and is environmentally friendly. In their resolutions they are therefore demanding:
- that the bans on developing road transit routes in the Alpine region be respected;
- the transfer of transit freight traffic from road to rail;
- that the current limits for noise and pollutants in the Alpine region be respected;
- a decrease in the carbon emissions generated by road traffic;
- the full use of rail capacity;
- the introduction of a Eurovignette and an increase in the Swiss HGV kilometre charge to the highest legally possible level;
- the introduction of an Alpine Crossing Exchange or similar effective transfer instrument;
- no second bore for the Gotthard tunnel.
- Jon Pult, President of the Alpine Initiative, 0041 (0)76 508 16 33
- Manuel Herrmann, Director of Alpine Protection Policy, Alpine Initiative, 0041 (0)78 765 61 16