Today's Pravda contains, encouragingly, a comment about the so-called congestion fees. (Pravda lives at http://hs.fi but this item appears only in the print version, at the bottom of page A12.)
Paavo Tukkimäki writes about Olavi H. Koskimäki of the Finnish Road Administration. Mr. Koskimäki spells out what is obvious to anyone who cares to see: the plan for congestion fees based on GPS tracking of each individual vehicle is a fool's errand. The proposed system is great if you want to have a mega-Stasi-Big-Brother society, and accept official access to personal data with the mindset "we trust the State".
But if you want to raise money for the state from a fee based on driving in congested traffic, all you need to do is collect fuel tax. The more congestion there is, the higher per km is fuel consumption. Moreover, the link between fuel consumption and the oh-so-modern-evil carbon emissions is 1:1. No need for complex tracking of who is driving what kind of vehicle in what kind of circumstances.
This would be very simple and straightforward. But: for the citizen control industry conglomerate of politicians, officials and information system vendors, such a scheme would be too simple. They want to set up a system where every car is equipped with a mandatory GPS device, and then you can collect fees based on the rating of the vehicle, time of day and various other variables that could be monitored, adjusted, regulated, legislated, et cetera ad infinitum.
And the poor end user someone who just drives a car - here not even a consumer but simply a subject of the administration, "subject" as in a subject of an autocracy - would just foot the bill.
Not if I can help it. The bright, shining, self-righteous hype about the necessity for "congestion" fees, so strongly advocated by our dominant newspaper, has got a dent in it. Thank you for this, Mr. Tukkimäki and Mr. Koskinen. I'm sure Jan Vapaavuori hates your guts, and that alone is worth a commendation.