Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Paris, “anti-SUV” measure passes but the vote is a flop. Controversy over the mayor- Corriere.it

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
PARIS — Two hundred twenty-five euros for six hours of parking in Paris, for certain categories of drivers. Which ones? It’s not easy to identify them, because the consultative referendum “against SUVs” wanted, organized, and won yesterday — with 54% — amidst controversy by socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo is full of difficulties and contradictions.

Controversy over the mayor’s referendum, only 5% of voters at the polls. Hidalgo defends herself
! [ Paris, anti-SUV measure passes but the vote is a flop.

However, the very few Parisians who went to vote — 78 thousand out of 1.3 million eligible, 5% — have expressed their opinion on measures that only indirectly affect them, because the new parking prices are targeted only at those coming from outside Paris. According to regional councilor Pierre Liscia, “it has nothing to do with ecology, it’s just about making those arriving from the suburbs pay more, to fill the city’s coffers and save it from bankruptcy.” Then, there’s a lack of a clear definition of SUVs.

In fact, if the city’s posters had been saying for weeks “More or less SUVs in Paris? Vote on February 4th,” the word “SUV” was missing from the voting ballots. At the polling stations yesterday, there were two ballots: “For” or “Against” “a specific fee for the parking of heavy, bulky, and polluting individual vehicles.”

The generic formulation reveals the underlying problem, which is that the new fees will not only affect some — not all — SUVs, but also regular family cars. In theory, citizens were called to penalize the huge car, perhaps suitable for Texas ranches but not for Parisian boulevards, and even less for the alleyways in the center of Paris. In practice, Hidalgo’s collaborators were forced to combine different parameters such as engine and weight.

Therefore, parking will cost three times as much (18 euros in arrondissements from I to XI, 12 euros from XII to XX) “for non-residents driving a gasoline or rechargeable hybrid vehicle over 1.6 tons, or an electric vehicle over 2 tons.” The application of these criteria yields some curious results: a gasoline Ferrari F8 will not pay the special fee, and neither will the large diesel Peugeot 5008 SUV, very polluting but relatively light (1.51 tons), while a car that is not an SUV at all, the Peugeot 308 hybrid sedan, smaller and less polluting than the diesel but weighing 1.603 tons, will pay triple. If the point is to discourage heavy vehicles, it must be said that the mayor Anne Hidalgo’s electric Renault Zoe weighs more than the Renault Captur or Dacia Duster SUVs.

The opposition accuses Mayor Hidalgo of demagogy and a farcical referendum, while she speaks of the “success of direct democracy,” and now the debate shifts to the city council. February 4, 2024 (modified on February 4, 2024 | 23:37)
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