'Norway’s coalition government could be brought down by a motorist-led backlash against rising road tolls being used to fund green infrastructure projects.
Since 2013 Norway’s Conservatives have been propped up in coalition with the right-wing populist Progress Party, a pro-motorist, anti-taxation group which got the fourth largest share of the vote in the last municipal elections.
But the Progress Party, led by the country’s finance minister Siv Jensen, has been losing voters to single-issue parties like “The People’s Action (FNB) – no to more road tolls” ahead of municipal elections in the autumn.
Revenues from tolls have risen 40 per cent in the past four years, topping 13 billion kroner (£1.2bn) this year.
This has helped fund a 75 per cent increase in transport spending, including rail expansion, public transport and cycle initiatives to cut emissions in major cities – in addition to highway maintenance.
Progress Party officials believe continued compromise with their coalition partners on the rising number of toll roads could force the it to abandon the coalition or risk a whitewash in the autumn.
Sivert Bjornstad, a key Progress Party politician, likened the situation to the emergence of the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement in France, which began as a protest against mounting fuel prices.
“Many of the same kind of people are protesting this in Norway as in France and other countries,” he told Bloomberg.'
Read more: Norway government on brink amid backlash against carbon-cutting road tolls