Excellent transport infrastructure and well-functioning public transport services are an important factor in Switzerland’s success as a place to live and work. The public sector therefore supports public transport and rail freight transport: the Confederation, cantons and communes pay about half of these costs. The other half is paid by the users.
The Confederation, represented by the Federal Office of Transport (FOT), pays about six billion Swiss francs a year for public transport and rail freight transport. The largest items in the FOT’s area of competence are
- maintenance and extension of rail infrastructure
(about CHF 4.5 billion p.a.),
- operating subsidies for regional passenger transport
(about CHF 1 billion p.a.),
- and promoting the transport of freight by rail
(about CHF 200 million p.a.).
The FOT is thus putting into practice the transport policy adopted by the federal government and by Parliament, and which has been approved by several popular votes. This policy aims to promote public transport (by rail, tram, bus, cableway and ship) as well as rail freight transport.
Three sources of finance are available for this:
- the Rail Infrastructure Fund (RIF)* which finances the operation, maintenance and extension of railway infrastructure,
- the ordinary federal budget, for operating subsidies and investments to promote rail freight transport, both across the Alps* and in the rest of the country*, as well as operating subsidies for regional passenger transport* (rail, bus, cableways, ship), and
- the Fund for National Roads and Urban Traffic (HSF)*, which contributes to financing infrastructure projects in the conurbations like the extension of tram and bus networks.
The Federal Statistical Office publishes a brochure giving a comprehensive overview of the costs and financing of transport.
*pages only available in German, French or Italian