“The sole and only objective of the vote on SUVs is to fill the coffers of the Paris city hall.”

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It is clear that the massive tax on families, who will have to pay 225€ for six hours of parking, sends the message that they are not welcome in Paris. The Paris City Hall claims that this decision is justified by ecological imperatives, but this is false since hybrid and electric vehicles are also subject to this pricing, while more polluting thermal vehicles are exempt. It seems that the City is desperately trying to fill its coffers after property tax increases, capitalised rent deception, and rising municipal fees.

This overlooks the fact that SUVs can be hybrid or electric and are increasingly accessible and popular among families, being the best-selling new vehicles in France in 2023. Ultimately, it is the Mayor of Paris who decides and the Paris Council who will endorse the decision. This is the moment when the resolution can be submitted for legal review.

Politically, it also lacks significance: recall that Anne Hidalgo announced this vote on SUVs to the general surprise, while embroiled in the scandal of her trip to Tahiti. She needed to quickly create a diversion. Therefore, what is the point of voting when the decision is already made?

This is exemplified by the transformation of the ring road, which was massively rejected by 85% of Parisians. This is enough to discourage people from voting! It is a pity to have reduced such a beautiful democratic tool to a mere PR stunt.

Nonetheless, I am convinced that Parisians could turn out in large numbers to participate in votes on issues such as the lack of road maintenance, dirty streets, urban furniture vandalism, and the city’s uglification— all daily concerns for Parisians. Surprisingly, no one at the Paris City Hall has dared to ask them. Local democracy is only convenient when it suits them.

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