« Alternative revenue sources for urban transport : presentation and discussion on the French Mobility Tax », by Thierry Desclos, Clotilde Minster (World Bank)

Publication Monday 14 December 2020

 

Abstract

Financing urban mobility is a worldwide issue and is increasingly so as the world urbanizes. This question  has taken a new dimension lately with the debates on  climate change, the development of new transport modes, the increasing debate on free of charge public transport in some countries  and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue raises the question of who should pay for transport provisions, users or more widely beneficiaries, as the challenge for public authorities is to promote urban transport by offering accessible fares to passengers and, at the same time, limit the deficits of transport operators. National and local authorities around the world are therefore looking for alternative revenue sources.

This paper presents the French Mobility Tax (VM)[1] and discuss its adaptation and transferability to other countries, in particular to developing countries.

 

Introduction

 

The world is urbanizing rapidly, nearly two billion new urban residents are expected in the next 20 years, and the urban populations of Asia and Africa are likely to double. Within a generation more than one-half of the developing world’s population will live in cities. Thus, the demand on urban transport and urban mobility will go up significantly. The need to increase the modal share of public transport in order to avoid the negative impacts of increased motorization as population get wealthier and cities urbanization increases, is one of the challenges for the next decades.

 

The rising demand for urban transport, not matched by the public offer, explains at least partly the increasing use of individual cars. The consequences on the economic efficiency of large cities, and on the health and well-being of their residents are adverse: severe congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic accidents, and a fast-rising energy bill have become serious concerns for public deciders.

 

In this context, many countries have taken commitments upon climate change at the international level, with the Paris Agreement in 2015 and through their Nationally Determined Contributions. To comply with them, many countries are seeking ways to improve the efficiency of their cities and urban public transport in order to reduce their impact upon the environment. There is urgency to act, particularly in intermediate cities, where projections show that the population growth will mainly take place in the next 20 years, in order to avoid creating the same problem as those encountered in big cities and metropolitan areas   nowadays. In this respect, not only the transport system itself but the coordination of urban and transport planning will be central to build livable cities.

 

Urban mobility is a definite challenge for national and local authorities as it is complex and multidimensional. It touches on many issues outside transport itself, such as land use, energy, health, the environment…. An efficient urban transport system is key for cities’ inhabitants and their quality of life, as it increases accessibility to job opportunities, education, health and recreational facilities.

 

However, financing is a main issue for both investments and operation. For any public authority in charge of transport, having stable sources of revenue is a major asset as it gives it stronger capacity to invest and anticipate. The most common resources in  developed countries are fares paid by users, , taxes on fuel, on car ownership, additional revenue coming from advertisement … and sometimes public subsidies. On the contrary, in most developing countries, urban transport has to pay for itself, public subsidies are not an option, and operators must finance their operation exclusively with fares. But, as they are rarely allowed fare increases from public authorities, they tend to let the quality of service deteriorates and services frequencies become erratic. At the beginning of the 1970’s, a time where major new public transport infrastructures were needed for the Paris Region, the French Government created a new tax devoted to urban transport. A transport tax, the Versement Transport () was created by the Act of July 12th, 1971[2] in the Paris Region, underpinned by the idea that transport networks should not only be financed by users, but also by employers – enterprises and administrative services – who, directly or indirectly, benefit from them, as a good transport network allows the employers to enlarge their recruiting opportunities and improve the transport conditions of their employees and customers.

 

The Transport Tax was generalized to the whole country in 1973[3] , upon the request of elected representatives of other regions than the Paris one, and is, under the name of Versement Mobilite (VM) since January 2020, the main source of funding for urban transport in the country. According to the GART, in 2017,  VM collection amounted to  8.5 billion euros (4.25 billion in the Paris region and 4.25 million in the rest of the country, which represents about 42% of operation funding  – in the Paris Region and about 47% of investment and operation in the rest of France). Considering the need to find resources to finance urban transport and mobility, due to constrained public budgets, in any country but mainly in developing ones, some have considered creating a tax inspired by VM. This paper aims at describing VM: its organization, its pros and cons according to public transport stakeholders and discuss under what conditions it could be adapted and introduced in other countries.

 

 

The legal framework

 

Creation and scope of VM

 

Who decides to set up the tax and how?

 

The decision to set up the VM is taken locally by a motion of the board of the Authority in charge of mobility (Autorité organisatrice de la mobilité). In 2020, 259 over 317 Urban Mobility Authorities had set up a VM within their geographical boundaries, constituted by the territories of the municipalities that chose to be part of the Authority. The Paris Region is a geographical exception in this regard as the transport authority (IDFM – Ile de France Mobilité) is competent over the entire Paris region.

 

Who are the taxpayers?

 

VM is paid by the employers present within the geographical boundaries of an Urban Mobility Authority. Since January 1st, 2016, the taxpayers are private companies, as well as public administrations and agencies, employing at least 11 workers[4]. Parliamentary debates recording indicate that threshold was chosen in order to exclude the smallest businesses deemed fragile economically. Its recent modification was generated by a desire to simplify procedures for enterprises by harmonizing social thresholds, and to encourage the small and medium businesses to recruit new employees without fearing a raise of their taxes. This threshold of 11 excludes about 1/3 of private companies.

 

Rates of VM

 

The employers pay a percentage of the wage bill of their workers, applied to the total payroll of the structure. The percentage itself varies, according to the Urban Mobility Authority the company is located in and its level of population.

 

The specific case of the Paris Region

 

In the Paris Region, different rates exist based on the level of urbanization of the 7 counties (départements) of the Region. Thus three rates are applied as follow since April 1st, 2017[5]: 2.95% in the City of Paris and the Hauts de Seine county, 2.12% in the Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne counties, 2.01% in municipalities within other counties mentioned in a list fixed by Government’s decree[6], and 1.6% in the other counties.

 

The following chart presents the situation in the Paris Region. It can be noticed that rates have been modified on a regular basis since 2015.

 

VM rates in the Paris Region

Counties of the Paris Region Rates ceilings between 2012 and 2014[7] Rates ceilings in 2015 and 2016[8]

 

Rates ceilings from April 1st 2017[9] till July 1st, 2018

 

Rates ceiling from July 1st, 2018 till January 1st 2019 Rates ceiling from January 1st2019 till January 1st 2020 Rates ceiling from January 1st2020 till January 1st 2021 Rates ceiling since January 1st 2021
City of Paris and the Hauts‐de‐Seine county 2.7% 2.85% 2.95% 2.95% 2.95% 2.95% 2.95%
Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne counties / / 2.12% 2.33% 2.54% 2.74% 2.95%
Municipalities mentioned in the Government’s decree 1.8% 1.91% 2.01% 2.01% 2.01% 2.01% 2.01%
Other Municipalities of the Paris Region 1.5% 1.5% 1.6% 1.60% 1.6% 1.60% 1.6%

 

Outside the Paris Region, rate ceilings apply to Urban Mobility Authorities according to their level of population and their transport characteristics.

 

 

Rates applying in other regions

 

Rates are decided by each Urban Mobility Authority within ceilings set by law. They vary according to the population included within the perimeter of the Authority, as indicated in the chart below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applicable rates outside the Paris Region General scheme

 

Rate when mobility is organized by an intercommunal cooperation structure (+0.05%) Touristic Municipality bonus

(+0.2%)

Municipalities of more than 100 000 habitants With UP/RW

 

1,75% 1,80% 2,00%
Without UP/RW

 

1,00% 1,05% 1,25%
Municipalities of 50 to 100 000 habitants

 

With UP/RW

 

0,85% 0,90% 1,10%
Without UP/RW

 

0,55% 0,60% 0,80%
Municipalities of 10 000 to 50 000 habitants 0,55% 0,60% 0,80%
Municipalities of less than 10 000 habitants (including at least a touristic municipality) 0,55%

 

Rates can be increased in three cases:

  • when an urban transport mode with right-of-way (UT/RW) exists or is being considered by the Urban Mobility Authority;
  • when the area is a touristic one and transport needs vary strongly according to the time of the year in this respect;
  • when mobility is organized by an inter-municipal cooperation structure. The rate can then be increased, by 0.05%,

 

The following chart presents the rates chosen by Authorities within mainland France.

 

Percentage of Urban Mobility Authorities having fixed their VM rate at the legal ceiling in 2017

Rate = ceiling* Rate < ceiling
 Urban Transport Authorities of more than 400 000 inhbts with MRT 92% 8%
 Urban Transport Authorities of less than 400 000 inhbts with MRT 88% 12%
Urban Transport Authorities of more than 200 000 inhbts 33% 67%
 Urban Transport Authorities of 100 to 200 000 inhbts 45% 55%
 Urban Transport Authorities from 50 To 100 000 Inhbts 63% 37%
 Urban Transport Authorities of Less Than 50 000 Inhbts 49% 51%
Total 56% 44%

Source: GART

 

 

 

 

 

It must be noted that all the Urban Mobility Authorities of more than 100 000 inhabitants located in mainland France (i.e. outside its overseas territories) have set up their VM to the legally allowed ceiling, whereas only 70% of those of less than 100 000 inhabitants have done so.

 

 

Moreover, since 2008, transport perimeters have increased by more than 40% whereas the population served by transport networks only increased by 7%. In the meantime, fares and VM did not increase accordingly, thus Authorities resources are more constrained. As 56% of the Authorities have set their rate to the legally allowed ceiling, they have to think of new resources outside VT when needed.

 

Faced with the issue of finding new resources many Authorities are regularly asking the Government to raise the VM ceilings, which the latter is reluctant to authorize to avoid increasing the tax burden on employers, both in the private and public sector. Therefore, an increasing number of Authorities have opted to raise fares.

 

 

 

The VM’s dedication to mobility in  cities

 

VM is unique in the sense that its proceeds is ascribed to urban mobility. Usually taxes are not ascribed but go to the general budget of the Central Government or public authorities. VT directly goes into the “transport budget” of the local authorities in charge of mobility. and can be used to finance [10] investments and operations.

 

Since 2014, the law clearly states which actions can fall within the scope of an Urban Mobility Transport Authority:

  • Organization, within the perimeter of the Urban Transport Authority, of regular passenger transport services and transport on demand services (Article L. 1231-1 of the transport code);
  • Development of non-motorized transportation, carpooling and car-sharing (Art. L. 1231-1, L. 1231-15);
  • Reduction of traffic congestion and pollution by setting an urban freight and logistic service (Art. L. 1231-1);
  • Setting up passenger information services (Art. L. 1231-8);
  • Organization of bike sharing services (., Art. L. 1231-16);

 

The collection of VM

 

VM is collected by the local agencies in charge of collecting social taxes (in French “Unions de recouvrement des cotisation de sécurité sociale et des allocations familiales” – “URSSAF”). When the tax was created,  the Government and the Members of Parliament, considered it  the easiest way to collect the tax was to rely on this existing collecting network enterprises were used to and in contact with. The amounts of VT collected locally by URSSAF, every month or every three month – -, according to the choice made by each employer, are centralized nationally by their central national agency (in French “ACOSS”). The latter then transfers the relevant amount to each Urban Mobility Authority, minus 1% of management fee.

 

The local agencies in charge of collecting social taxes meet with several types of difficulties in the management of VM. First, Authorities can decide to change rates, through the adoption of a motion of their board, and the local agencies in charge of collecting social taxes must then implement these changes. Since 2015, changes of rates are only taken into account twice a year to simplify the management of the tax. Second, the perimeter of an Authority does not always match the one the local agencies in charge of collecting social taxes have (as in the case of an Authority which includes municipalities pertaining to two counties).

 

The collection of VM is eligible to the same types of controls which exist for other taxes paid by companies to finance Social Security: internal controls, controls from the Ministry for Social Affairs, and from the National Audit Office (in French “Cour des Comptes”). In case of disagreement on the management and payment of the tax, cases are heard by the Social Affairs Jurisdiction headed by the Cour de cassation but in some cases by the administrative justice. Conflicts are frequent as VM is a complex tax to manage due to its many components. Disagreement often occur, regarding the level of employees required to pay the tax, or the definition of what is an employer and an employee. The legal exemptions to pay the tax also generate disagreements.

 

Exemptions from the VM

 

Exemptions of public utility foundations and associations

 

The law provides an exemption from VM for public utility, foundations and associations[11], but only for those which meet three criteria: being officially recognized as public utility by the Government, be a non-profitable structure and to provide a social service to the community. Exemptions are not automatic and foundations and associations claiming to meet the criteria, must make a request to the Urban Mobility Authority. If the review is positive, the Authority will pass a motion of exemption at its board. Only then, a foundation or an association will be legally exempted from VM.

 

A progressive mechanism

 

In order to smooth the impact of the tax on enterprises when they pass the level of 11 employees, the Parliament created a progressive mechanism[12]. This mechanism alleviates the burden of the tax for small businesses recruiting new staff over the first 6 years companies do not pay VM for the first three year, during the three following ones, they pay respectively 25%, then 50% and 75% of it. The 7th year, the rate is fully applied. From the URSSAF perspective this necessitates a very personalized follow up of each company.

 

Housed and/or transported workers

 

Authorities must refund the employers who can prove that they house, and/or transport, their employees[13]. To get a refund, an employer has to prove to the Authority that: his employees are provided with a free, permanent home, within walking distance of their workplace or  that they  are provided with free transport services, from  a pickup point, located within  walking distance from their houses, to their workplace.

 

The proceeds of the tax

 

The proceeds of VM depend upon the number of companies and administrations located within the jurisdiction  of the  Authorities and the of general economic situation, thus they vary overtime. VM can be described as a “dynamic tax”, its proceeds having increased over the years due to several factors:

  • Maximum authorized rates have gradually been increased by the Government to take into accounts the creation of mass transit systems;
  • The perimeters of Authorities have enlarged over the years as inter-municipal cooperation developed;
  • Employment and high salaries are mainly concentrated in the major urban areas and thus within the perimeter of Urban Mobility Authorities.

 

The total proceeds of the VM in 2017 was 8.5 billion euros, an increase of more than 10% since 2013. The amount collected in Paris Region was 4.25 billion (which covered about 42% of the operation funding needs) and 4.3 in other regions. This can be explained by the economical role of Paris Region which concentrates about 20% of the whole French population, and 23% of all the jobs. In 2017, 4.3 Billion euros were collected in the other regions and contributed up to 47% to the funding of public transport – both investments and operation. As proceeds very much linked to the economic dynamism of the given area, cities enjoy different proceed. For example, Toulouse, Nantes and Lyon, which are economically strong, have a VM collection per inhabitant of, respectively 121€, 119€ and 117€. On the contrary Nice, Marseille and Montpellier collect respectively 67€, 79€ and 95€. If we consider urban areas by size, figures show that the proceeds of VM are greater in major urban centers than in smaller ones.

 

 

Point of view of the major stakeholders

 

Employers, the French National Audit Office (in French “Cour des comptes”), but also Authorities are the main stakeholders concerned by VM and its efficiency and their point of view is interesting to assess the tax.

 

The Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), the largest employers’ federation, recognizes the many positive aspects of the VM, and the role and benefits of a good public transport provisions for economic prosperity and for the environment. It however considers the level of the Tax too high and the funding through user fares too low. As VM is a tax paid, mostly, by the companies, MEDEF considers that VM hinders their competitiveness and rates increases too often.

It  points out, that in addition, enterprises have been imposed to reimburse 50% of public transport monthly passes to their employees since 2009 for the whole France[14] (Prior to that date, only enterprises located in the Paris region had to pay for it). In other words, according to MEDEF, enterprises have to finance twice the public transport provisions, through the VM, and through the reimbursement of public transport monthly passes bought by their employees. Another critic is that, as VM generates revenues, it may induce Authorities to be lenient on fares or even offer free transport, as it already is the case in some cities. Moreover, MEDEF points out also that enterprises finance a transport service that their employees do not necessary use for commuting. If 43% of the workers commute by public transport in the Paris region, only 8% do so in the rest of France (INSEE 2017). As companies pay through VM for public transport, MEDEF suggests being associated to the decision process together with Authorities and is calling for a debate on the financing of public transport and on the transport needs of small and medium cities. It also calls for an independent audit on VM  efficiency to be conducted.

 

The French National Audit Office highlighted in its 2015 annual report the need to find a new equilibrium to finance urban public transport. It underlined that fares, paid by users, amount to 28% of the operation costs of urban public transport on average, which is 7 points less than ten years before. The issue being more acute in municipalities of less than 250 000 inhabitants. According to the Audit office, due to the existence of VM, fares asked from users may not be at the level they should be which raises questions regarding citizens participation to finance public transport and the fair sharing of the burden between taxpayers and users. As the Office noted, fares levels raise another dilemma as policies, supporting intermodality, require low fares. In its 2015 report, it also indicated that it considered that VM was at its maximal level and that finding a new equilibrium required rationalizing public transport and increasing other revenues.

 

No generic position as such is expressed by Urban Mobility Authorities or their national association (GART). However, GART is fully convinved of VM’s importance and is supportive of it. For the association and its members, VM is an essential resource that enhances local public transport policy. Since the de-commitment of the Government in urban transport in the 1980’s, and the transfer of the responsibilities onto local authorities, VM has been valued by local elected authorities, for it helps to put in perspective the needs of the users, together with local development issues. GART thus voiced its concerns about any modification that would negatively affect the VM. It expressed its concerns regarding the modification of the level of employees generating the tax from 9 to 11 and asked for the difference in revenue collection to be compensated to Authorities. The Government committed itself to do so and a joint inspection mission from the Ministries of Transport and Social affairs was set up to evaluate the financial gap.

 

Critical analysis of VM

 

VM’s positive effects definitely have to be acknowledged.  Since its creation, it has significantly contributed to the modernization and expansion of public urban transport networks in France. It also is an environmental-friendly tax, as it has  helped to decrease congestion and air pollution levels in urban areas by promoting pubic transport. Today, VM is the main resource for Mobility Authorities, and its existence give them visibility on the amounts they will be able to spend in future years, even if its proceeds vary according to the economic context. Transport deciders can therefore plan ahead more easily which, according to local representatives met, can be a source of savings as when planning to buy rolling stock, for instance.

 

Moreover, VM bears the advantage of being a tax decided, collected and used locally. In this respect, it can be adapted to the local context and needs, via its rates, and its benefits and use easier to explain to taxpayers. Last but not least, VM allows local authorities to offer relatively low fares to users on transport networks. International comparisons how that transport networks in France offer fares that compare well with other countries. As above mentioned VM faces criticisms. It is seen by many employers  as an additional burden on companies   lacking efficiency and sometimes without relevant counterparts if their company is located at the limit of the urban transport perimeter. On the political front, some have even suggested to get rid of it to alleviate the tax pressure on the private sector, and they seem to be more and more vocal overtime

 

VM is a way to finance public transport  which has had many positive sides since its creation  in France. However, these mounting criticisms, recent developments on climate change, the rise of new transport modes, the debate on free of charge transport and the consequences of the Covid 19 crisis probably call for a wide reflexion on what could be a new economic model to finance urban mobility, VM could be part of.

 

The question of its replication as such elsewhere in the world can be debated. Could it be implemented in other countries and under what form? The following section aims to discuss the challenges and conditions for creating a tax similar to VT in other countries, especially – but not exclusively – developing ones.

 

Implementing VM in other countries: Challenges and conditions to be met

 

In many countries, national and local authorities are looking for new resources to finance urban transport outside public finances and the question of whether VM could be implemented is often raised. So far, no other example exists around the world of similar a tax. This question is even more relevant at a time where climate change preoccupations, the cost of congestion and pollution, put a new impetus on urban mobility transport and on how to find new resources to develop it and increase its modal share. In this respect, VM, even if created nearly 50 years ago, appears as a modern tax underlying the idea that all those who benefit from a good public transport network should contribute to its financing. The creation of such a tax, which is a complex one to manage,  in a developing country would need some general conditions to be met.

 

As above mentioned, the creation of VM in France occurred at time of economic prosperity, when financing new transport infrastructures in the Paris Region was urgently needed. Economic growth, or/and urgency, could thus favor the social acceptance of a new tax. Creating such a tax will  require a strong political will, and backing, and a pedagogical exercise to be conducted to bring all stakeholders onboard, not so much probably at the national level, as the issue is to set a legislative framework, as at the local level, if the decision of creating the tax is set there.

 

At the national and the city level, the issue should probably be presented and explained in a wider context than simply financing urban transport and mobility. The issue is a city issue as improved mobility thanks  to the tax, has  have positive effects on the whole functioning of cities: their GDP will improve (as congestion cost will be reduced) , health cost be reduced  (through reduced contamination) and access of citizen to job opportunities, health and education be improved.

 

Explanation and communication will also be central. In this respect underlining the differences in public allocation of funds spent on cars and public transport can be useful. Cars often benefit from” hidden advantages” compared to public transports, which are often overlooked: they generally do not pay for the cost of roads building and maintenance, parking… Communication campaigns towards  enterprises,  car users,   public transport users and citizen in general should be conducted in order to  put things in perspective and facilitate the acceptance of the tax.

 

As VM is a tax, some degree of acceptance by citizens and businesses is necessary. In order to reach it, explanations on the tax and of its counterparts in terms of level and quality of transport services is required. In this respect, the tax might be more easily accepted if the country setting it up, decides that as in the case of France, it will be created at the local level, where counterparts are more easily seen and stakeholders more easily identified, once a national framework has been set. If enterprises have to pay a new tax, their employees and the citizens, as a whole, should benefit and feel they benefit, from improved transport infrastructures and services.

 

VM being a tax, things will work more smoothly if the national tradition of tax evasion is little or non-existent and if the society as a whole is fairly law abiding. One point must be strongly underlined if creating the tax is to be considered in a developing country, the existence of an informal sector will have an impact. The tax should not introduce more discrepancy between the formal and the informal sector, thus if the informal sector is important, creating such a tax might bring more problems than solutions, unless it is focused only on major companies, for example.

 

Outside general conditions to be met regarding the context, some technical questions will have to be addressed:

 

  1. Who will decide to create the tax and on what perimeter will it be implemented? As aforementioned, VM is a local tax, however, developing countries tend to be fiscally centralized and whereas many of them have launched administrative decentralization processes, more often than not this has meant decentralizing competences, but not always the budgets or taxes that go with it. A relevant tax collection system must also exist, or be set up, to manage a tax that can be fairly complex, depending on the number ot its parameters. However, the situation in many countries is that tax collections systems are not fully efficient. . The need to ascribe the proceeds of the funds to public transport and mobility will also be crucial which raises the question of government agencies in charge and their understanding of mobility issues.

Several options can be imagined, one of them being that, first, the tax would be created at the national level, with the approval of local authorities, or not. In a second stage, when decentralization will be pushed forward, the management of the tax could be transferred to local authorities. Associating local authorities to the decision-making process on the management of the tax, could be a way to prepare the step of decentralization. In the meantime, VT could serve to finance a national transport fund which would be used to finance infrastructure and operation around the country.

 

  1. Regarding the scope of the tax, each country will have to decide if it wants to tax all enterprises or those above a certain level of employees in order to exclude small businesses considered more fragile. Not taxing small businesses of less than 9 employees, originally, was very much debated in the French Parliament at the time, for it undoubtedly adds to the complexity of the tax. If a country decides to go for such an option, it will add to the management cost of the tax and it should be in a position to manage it. For example, the administration, and in the end the judge, will have to face questions such as who can be counted as an employee and questions such as the definition of an employees might emerge. Developing countries might want to consider simpler criteria than personnel and could base the Transport Tax upon the profits or turnover of companies for example.

 

  1. On another level, and whichever Transport Tax system is chosen, politics could find it useful to provide exemptions, such as the one voted by the French Parliament in 1971 for certain new urban areas. During parliamentary debates, new towns around Paris were considered for exemption, in order to favor a transfer of job locations from Paris city center to the suburbs and thus reduce commuting trips from the suburbs to the capital. VM can thus be used as an incentive for future urban development patterns and reduce the need for travels by making jobs areas and housing areas closer.

 

  1. Regarding the rate of the tax, fewer rates than those existing in France might be considered to help the tax be accepted.

 

  1. Regarding the use of the funds, each country will have to determine it, in accordance with its transport needs. Debates in the French Parliament in 1971 clearly indicate that the idea was to compensate the deficits of transport operators in Paris Region, and also to finance new investments.

 

  1. As developing countries are often looking for a way to finance operations in order to get a good quality of service, it would seem right, that the Transport Tax should finance both infrastructure and operation.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

VM was innovative tax which enabled the renewal of urban transport in France. However, it is a complex one to manage due to its many characteristics and requires an efficient collection system and an efficient legal system in case of litigation. Adapting it to another country, require some conditions that will probably be more easily met the higher the level of development of the country is and its politically maturity is. One advantage VM would have in developing countries is to get them, at least partially, out of the debate about subsidies to transport operators which they often cannot afford today. Most of them do not finance public transport, mainly for lack of resources, despite the consequences on the scope and quality of the service offered to passengers.

 

Whereas when created VM was focused on transport issues, with climate issues very much at the forefront nowadays, the Transport Tax appears a modern tax which creation could be justified within this context. Regarding taxes, as in many other domains, each country has its traditions and specifics and must create its own model even if taking inspiration from other countries is a way to reach it. What has been set up in France can only be used to get a sense of what could be done, rather than what should be done.

 

Whatever the country considered, the climate change issue, the rise of new transport modes, the debate on free of charge urban transport and the consequences of the Covid 19 crisis call for a wide approach of urban transport financing, not just over creating or not a VM, and on what could be a new economic model to finance urban mobility, VM could be part of.

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the experts who took the time to provide information and answer questions. Among them, Jean Louis Rey, Director (ACOSS) and Samuel Zapata (ACOSS), Benjamin Croze, DGITM, (Ministry of Ecology and Transport), Guy Lebras, Director (GART), Benjamin Marcus, Florence Dujardin, Chloe Diamédo and Celina Sabatier (GART), Julien Allaire and Jean Jacques Helluin (CODATU), Bernard Rivalta (former director of SYTRAL, Lyon), Thierry Gouin (CEREMA/CERTU), Jean Christophe Monnet (IDFM, Paris), Maria Eugenia Martinez Mansilla ( Consultant), Arturo Ardila Gomez, Georges Darido (World Bank).

Bibliography

 

 

Ardila Gomez, Arturo, Ortegon-Sanchez, Adriana- Sustainable Urban Transport Financing from the Sidewalk to the Subway : Capital, Operations, and Maintenance Financing; World Bank (2016)

 

CCI – Chambre de Commerce et d´Industrie Paris Ile-de-France (2016) Paris Regions Key Figures 2017. Available online at: http://www.cci-paris-idf.fr/etudes/organisation/crocis/chiffres-cles/chiffres-cles-region-ile-de-france-crocis [June 2017]

 

CODATU (2014) Who pays what for Urban Transport, handbook of good practices, 114 p. Available online at: https://collaboration.worldbank.org/docs/DOC-12070 [June 2017]

 

CEREMA (2014) Le versement transport : une contribution essentielle au financement des transports urbains, L´essentiel, CERTU, 12 p.

 

Bidoux P.-E., Caenen Y., Trigano L. (2017) Déplacements domicile-travail, INSEE Flash Ile-de-France, 16. Available online at: https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/2555642#consulter [Februar 2018]

 

Cour des Comptes (2015) « Les transports publics urbains de voyageurs : un nouvel équilibre à rechercher », in Rapport public annuel. Available online: https://www.ccomptes.fr/Publications/Publications/Rapport-public-annuel-2015 [June 2017]

 

GART (2015) L’année 2013 des transports urbains, GART, Available online: https://www.gart.org/publication/lannee-2013-transports-urbains/ [February 2018]

MEDEF (2014) Financement des transports publics en Ile-de-France : concilier mobilité et compétivité. Internal working paper.

 

 

[1] Until 2019, VM was known as Versement Transport (VT)

[2] Act n°71-559 of 12 July 1971

[3] Act n°73-640 of 11 July 1973

[4] Before the adoption of the Finance Act n°2015-1785 of 29 December 2015, the taxpayers were the employers of more than 9 workers

[5] Finance Act n°2016-1917 du 29 December 2016 – art. 91

6 Article L 2531-4 of the code of Municipalities

[7] Finance Act n°2012-1509 of 29 December 2012 – art. 84

[8] Finance Act n°2014-1655 of 29 December 2014 – art. 87

[9] Finance Act n°2016-1917 du 29 December 2016 – art. 91 – codified in the territorial authorities code (CGCT), Art. L. 2531-4

[10] Act n°2014-58 of 27 January 2014

[11] CGCT, L. 2333-64, L. 2531-2

[12] Act n°96-314 of 12 April 1996 – codified CGCT, Art. L. 2333-64, L. 2531-2

[13] CGCT, Art. L. 2333-70, L. 2531-6

[14] Act n°2008-1330 of 17 December 2008 – codified in the labor code (C. trav.) L. 3261-1 to L. 3261-4