During the summer and fall of 2019, I met people all over Norway engaged in the fight against the toll on roads. People are angry, and experts describe the rise of the mostly single-issue parties as a protest not only against toll, but even more against the establishment, against the ruling politicians and against the wealthy.
It is the lower middle class and poor against the rich. It is the countryside against the cities.
“The People’s Action (FNB) – no to more road tolls” have been gaining support all over Norway before the municipal elections this autumn. It is a motorist-led, mostly single-issue, party that is against the use of toll on road projects in Norway.
Revenues from tolls have risen 40 per cent in the past four years, topping 13 billion kroner (£1.2 bn) 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.
In the key city of Bergen the FNB got 25.4 per cent of the poll, making it the largest party in the municipality. Public outcry over more toll plazas and much higher tolls in cities like Bergen, Stavanger and not least Oslo has posed huge challenges for politicians at both the local and state levels.
They typically blame each other, but now the political parties themselves are all threatened by the new road toll protest parties that have popped up and seem to be luring voters away, especially from the Progress and Liberal parties.