At the end of 2019, the Basque Government’s Cabinet passed the bill for Sustainable Mobility in the Basque Country, having completed the drafting and contrast phases of a project that involved the active participation of different sectoral stakeholders and diverse administrative levels, under the coordination of the Basque Transport Authority (ATE). The bill is currently in the processing and debate phase in the Basque Parliament.
The bill sets out the reasons why a regulation of this nature is necessary and explains the challenges to overcome and the tools required to address them, in terms of mobility management. It is considered within the framework of European initiatives, which steer the spirit of this bill, according to which “the aim is to move forward in the application of the “polluter pays” and “user pays” principle, fostering environmentally sustainable and socially equitable mobility”. (Basque Government, 2019).
In the adoption of the measures for the management of the growing volume of transport, minimising its social and environmental costs – as indicated in the bill -, significant progress has been made in the Basque Country, mainly through the requirement for public administration and public transport vehicles to use zero emissions fuel.
Furthermore, some of the elements to be developed in order to boost policies that foster sustainable mobility are also mentioned. First of all, it highlights the recommendation that mobility policies are incorporated into the comprehensive planning of transport, which in turn is incorporated into regional planning, environmental and urban development policies. The key public policy is fostering the decarbonisation of public transport, giving the Basque Country a plan to improve transport, integrating all means of transport into sustainable management, in addition to prioritising rail transport and the use of zero emissions vehicles.
Although the Basque Country currently has a Master Plan for Sustainable Transport 2030, approved in 2017, the Sustainable Mobility Draft Bill establishes the development of a Plan for Sustainable Mobility and Transport in the Basque Country, which will serve as the strategic framework for the “implementation of a transport policy based on the intermodal coordination and integration of transport […] and to establish administrative coordination criteria” (Basque Government, 2019).
Therefore, this strategic document will seek to guarantee the development of public policies with the vision of the draft bill and the European framework, specifying an action plan and highlighting the importance of inter-administrative cooperation, together with the coordination of transversal systems of management and implementation of powers.