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Voters back national rail infrastructure plan

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Photo: AFP/File
18:53 CET+01:00
A project to boost financing for passenger rail infrastructure won widespread support from Swiss voters in a national referendum on Sunday.

More than 62 percent of the electorate voted for the improvements designed to improve train service through 6.4 billion francs’ worth of projects between now and 2025.

The plan will also add an extra billion francs a year to the four billion francs already allocated annually for rail infrastructure and maintenance.

It will allow for improvements to service on Lausanne-Geneva, Bern-Lucerne, Zurich-Chur, Lucerne-Giswil, Bellinzona-Tenero and Zurich-Fiesch routes, according to the federal government, which backed the proposal.

The expansion gives the green light for the financing of such projects as the expansion of Geneva’s main train station Cornavin (790 million francs) and a billion-franc modernization of the Lausanne station and its links with Renens, the nearby suburb.

The majority of the spending will be supported by the federal government but other sources of revenue will be tapped including a fuel tax, a temporary sales tax levy from 2018 to 2030 and contributions from the cantons.

In the other national referendum issue on Sunday, Swiss voters massively rejected a proposal to remove abortions from the services covered by obligatory medical insurance.

Almost 70 percent of voters rejected the bid to require such medical procedures to be privately funded.

Switzerland has one of the lowest rates of abortions internationally, at 6.9 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2012, down from seven in 2002.
 

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