Swiss Constitution of 1998

Swiss Federal Constitution of 1998 (1998)
Federal Administration of Switzerland
674302Swiss Federal Constitution of 19981998Federal Administration of Switzerland



In the name of God Almighty!

We, the Swiss People and the Cantons, being mindful of our responsibility towards creation, in renewing our alliance to strengthen liberty and democracy, independence and peace in solidarity and openness towards the world, determined, with mutual respect and recognition, to live our diversity in unity, conscious of our common achievements and our responsibility towards future generations, certain that free is only who uses his freedom, and that the strength of a people is measured by the welfare of the weak, hereby adopt the following Constitution:

Title 1:General Provisions


Article 1 Swiss Federation


The Swiss People and the Cantons of Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwald, Nidwald, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel-City, Basel-Land, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Outer-Rhodes, Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, St. Gall, Grisons, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva, and Jura form the Swiss Federation.

Article 2 Purpose


(1) The Swiss Federation protects the liberty and rights of the people and safeguards the independence and security of the country.

(2) It promotes common welfare, sustainable development, inner cohesion, and cultural diversity of the country.

(3) It ensures the highest possible degree of equal opportunities for all citizens.

(4) It strives to safeguard the long-term preservation of natural resources and to promote a just and peaceful international order.

Article 3 Cantons


The Cantons are sovereign insofar as their sovereignty is not limited by the Federal Constitution; they exercise all rights not transferred to the Federation.

Article 4 National Languages


The National Languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Article 5 Rule of Law


(1) The law is the basis for and limitation of state activity.

(2) State activity must be in the public interest and proportional.

(3) State institutions and private entities must act in good faith.

(4) Federation and Cantons respect international law.

Article 5a  Rule of Subsidiarity

For the assignment and fulfillment of state functions, the principle of subsidiarity must be observed.

Article 6 Individual and Social Responsibility


Every person is responsible for him- or herself and advances, according to his or her abilities, the goals of state and society.

Title 2:Basic, Civil, and Social Rights


Chapter 1:Basic Rights


Article 7 Human Dignity


Human dignity is to be respected and protected.

Article 8 Equality


(1) All humans are equal before the law.

(2) Nobody may be discriminated against, namely for his or her origin, race, sex, age, language, social position, way of life, religious, philosophical, or political convictions, or because of a corporal or mental disability.

(3) Men and women have equal rights. The law provides for legal and factual equality, particularly in the family, during education, and at the workplace. Men and women have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.

(4) The law provides for measures to eliminate disadvantages of disabled people.

Article 9 Protection Against Arbitrariness and Preservation of Good Faith


Every person has the right to be treated by state institutions without arbitrariness and in good faith.

Article 10 Right to Life and Personal Freedom


(1) Every person has the right to life. The death penalty is prohibited.

(2) Every person has the right to personal liberty, namely to corporal and mental integrity and freedom of movement.

(3) Torture and any other form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited.

Article 11 Protection of Children and Adolescents


(1) Children and adolescents have the right to special protection of the personal integrity and to promotion of their development.

(2) They exercise their rights according to their capacity to discern.

Article 12 Right to Aid in Distress


Whoever is in distress without the ability to take care of him- or herself has the right to help and assistance and to the means indispensable for a life led in human dignity.

Article 13 Protection of Privacy


(1) Every person has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home, and secrecy of mail and telecommunication.

(2) Every person has the right to be protected against abuse of personal data.

Article 14 Right to Marriage and Family


The rights to marriage and family are guaranteed.

Article 15 Freedom of Faith and Conscience


(1) The freedom of faith and conscience is guaranteed.

(2) Every person has the right to freely choose his or her religion or non-denominational belief and to profess them alone or in community with others.

(3) Every person has the right to join or belong to a religious community and to receive religious education. (4) No person may be forced to join a religious community, to conduct a religious act or participate in religious education.

Article 16 Freedom of Opinion and Information


(1) The freedom of opinion and information is guaranteed.

(2) Every person has the right to form, express, and disseminate his or her opinions freely. (3) Every person has the right to receive information freely, to gather it from generally accessible sources, and to disseminate it.

Article 17 Freedom of the Media


(1) The freedom of the press, radio and television as well as all other forms of public broadcasting of productions and information is guaranteed.

(2) Censorship is prohibited.

(3) Editorial secrecy is guaranteed.

Article 18 Freedom of Language


The freedom of language is guaranteed.

Article 19 Right to Primary Education


The right to sufficient and free primary education is guaranteed.

Article 20 Freedom of Science


The freedom of scientific research and teaching is guaranteed.

Article 21 Freedom of Art


The freedom of art is guaranteed.

Article 22 Freedom of Assembly


(1) The freedom of assembly is guaranteed.

(2) Every person has the right to organize assemblies, to participate in or to abstain from them.

Article 23 Freedom of Association


(1) The freedom of association is guaranteed.

(2) Every person has the right to form associations, to join or to belong to them, and to participate in their activities. (3) Nobody may be forced to join or to belong to an association.

Article 24 Freedom of Domicile


(1) Swiss citizens have the right to establish domicile anywhere within the country.

(2) They have the right to leave or to return to Switzerland.

Article 25 Protection Against Expulsion, Extradition, and Removal by Force


(1) Swiss citizens may not be expelled from the country; they may be extradited to a foreign authority only with their consent.

(2) Refugees may not be removed by force or extradited to a state in which they are persecuted.

(3) Nobody may be removed by force to a state where he or she is threatened by torture or other means of cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment.

Article 26 Guarantee to property


(1) Property is guaranteed.

(2) Expropriation and restrictions of ownership equivalent to expropriation are fully compensated.

Article 27 Economic Freedom


(1) Economic freedom is guaranteed.

(2) In particular, it entails the free choice of profession as well as free access to and free exercise of private economic activity.

Article 28 Freedom to Unionize


(1) Employees, employers, and their organizations have the right to unionize for the protection of their interests, to form unions and to join or refrain from joining them.

(2) Conflicts ought to be settled by negotiation and mediation as far as possible.

(3) Strike and lockout are permitted, provided they concern labor relations and do not violate any obligation to keep labor peace or to resort to conciliation.

(4) The law may prohibit strikes by certain groups of persons.

Article 29 General Procedural Guarantees


(1) In judicial and administrative proceedings, every person has the right to equal and fair treatment as well as adjudication within reasonable time.

(2) The parties have the right to be heard.

(3) Every person lacking the necessary means has the right to free legal assistance, provided the case does not seem to lack any merit. To the extent necessary for the protection of one's rights, the person also has the right to free legal councel.

Article 29a Guarantee of Legal Proceedings

Every person has the right to have legal disputes decided by judicial authority. The Federation and the Cantons may in exceptional cases exclude judicial proceedings.

Article 30 Judicial Proceedings


(1) Every person whose case is to be judged in judicial proceedings has the right to a court established by law, with jurisdiction, independence, and impartiality. Exceptional tribunals are prohibited.

(2) Every person subjected to civil action has the right to have the case adjudicated by the court of his or her domicile. The law may provide for another venue.

(3) Court hearings and renderings of judgments are public. The law may provide for exceptions.

Article 31 Habeas Corpus


(1) A person may only be deprived of his or her liberty in the cases and following the forms provided by law.

(2) Every person deprived of his or her liberty has the right to be informed promptly, in a language which he or she understands, of the reasons for his or her arrest and of his or her rights. The person has to have the opportunity to assert his or her rights. In particular, he or she has the right to have his or her close relatives informed.

(3) Every person taken into pretrial detention has the right to be brought before a judge without delay; the judge decides whether the person remains in detention or is released. Every person held in pretrial detention is entitled to trial within a reasonable time.

(4) Every person deprived of his or her liberty without a trial is entitled to access to a court at any time. The court decides as soon as possible on the lawfulness of the detention.

Article 32 Criminal procedure


(1) Everyone is to be presumed innocent until sentenced according to law.

(2) Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to be informed promptly and comprehensively of the accusation against him or her. He or she must have the opportunity to assert his or her rights of defence.

(3) Every condemned person has the right to have the judgement reviewed by a higher court. Provided the case is not adjudicated by the Federal Court [Bundesgericht] as court of first and last instance.

Article 33 Right of Petition


(1) Every person has the right to address petitions to authorities; no disadvantages may arise from using this right. (2) The authorities have to take cognizance of petitions.

Article 34 Political Rights


(1) The political rights are guaranteed.

(2) The guarantee of political rights protects the free formation of opinion by the citizens and the unaltered expression of their will in ballots.

Article 35 Realization of Fundamental Rights


(1) Fundamental rights have to be effectuated throughout the entire legal system.

(2) Whoever exercises a state function is bound to the fundamental rights and obliged to contribute to their implementation.

(3) The authorities ensure that fundamental rights, as far as they are suitable, also become effective among private parties.

Article 36 Limitations of Fundamental Rights


(1) Limitations of fundamental rights require a basis in law. Serious limitations have to be expressly provided for in a statute. Cases of clear and present danger not to be avoided by other means are exempt.

(2) Limitations of fundamental rights have to be justified by public interest or by the protection of fundamental rights of others.

(3) Limitations have to satisfy the principle of proportionality.

(4) The essence of fundamental rights is inviolable.

Chapter 2:Citizenship and Political Rights

Article 37 Citizenships

(1) A Swiss citizen is, who has the citizenship of a Municipality and the citizenship of the Canton.

(2) No person may be granted a privilege or be disadvantaged because of his or her citizenship rights. Exempt are provisions regarding political rights in home communities [Bürgergemeinden] and corporations as well as rights to a share in their property as long as cantonal law does not provide otherwise.

Article 38 Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship

(1) The Federation regulates the acquisition and the loss of citizenship by descent, marriage and adoption. In addition, it regulates the loss of Swiss citizenship for other reasons, as well as the restoration of citizenship [Wiedereinbürgerung].

(2) The Federation sets minimal standards for the naturalization of foreigners by the Cantons, and grants naturalization permits. (3) The Federation facilitates the naturalization of stateless children.

Article 39 Exercise of Political Rights

(1) The Federation regulates the exercise of political rights in federal matters; the Cantons regulate the exercise of these rights in cantonal and municipal matters.

(2) Political rights are exercised at the domicile. The Federation and the Cantons may provide for exceptions.

(3) No person may exercise political rights in more than one Canton.

4) The Cantons may provide that new residents exercise their political rights in cantonal and municipal matters only after a waiting period of up to three months following their taking of residence.

Article 40 Swiss citizens domiciled abroad

(1) The Federation supports relations among Swiss citizens domiciled abroad as well as their links with Switzerland. The Federation may support organizations pursuing this goal.

(2) The Federation adopts rules on the rights and duties of Swiss citizens abroad, in particular regarding the exercise of political rights on the federal level, on the duty to render military or substitute service, on welfare and on social security.

Chapter 3 Social Goals


Article 41 [General Provisions]


(1) The Federation and the Cantons, in addition to personal responsibility and private initiative, furthers the achievement that

a) every person shares in social security;

b) every person, for his or her health, receives the necessary care;

c) families as communities of adults and children are protected and supported;

d) workers can sustain their living through work under adequate conditions;

e) people looking for housing can find for themselves and for their family adequate housing at acceptable conditions;

f) children and youths as well as people of working age can further their education and training according to their abilities;

g) children and youths are encouraged in their development to become independent and socially responsible persons and are supported in their social, cultural, and political integration.

(2) The Federation and the Cantons are working towards the goal that every person is insured against the economic consequences of old age, disability, illness, accidents, unemployment, maternity, orphanhood, and widowhood.

(3) They try to achieve the social goals within their constitutional competencies and with the resources available to them.

(4) From social goals no direct claims to state subsidies may be derived.

Title 3:Federation, Cantons, and Municipalities


Chapter 1:Relationship between the Federation and the Cantons


Section 1 Tasks of the Federation and the Cantons

Article 42 Tasks of the Federation

(1) The Federation accomplishes tasks allocated to it by the Constitution.

(2) It assumes the tasks requiring uniform regulation.

Article 43 Tasks of the Cantons

The Cantons define the tasks to be accomplished within the framework of their competencies.

Section 2 Cooperation between the Federation and the Cantons

Article 44 Principles

(1) The Federation and the Cantons support each other in the fulfillment of their responsibilities and work together.

(2) They owe each other consideration and support. They grant each other administrative and judicial assistance.

(3) Disputes between Cantons or between Cantons and the Federation are as far as possible resolved through negotiation or mediation.

Article 45 Participation in Federal Decision Making

(1) The Cantons participate, according to the Constitution, in federal decision-making, particularly regarding legislation.

(2) The Federation timely and comprehensively informs the Cantons of its projects; it obtains their consideration whenever their interests are concerned.

Article 46 Implementation of Federal Law

(1) The Cantons implement federal legislation according to the Constitution and the law.

(2) The Federation leaves the Cantons as much organizational scope as possible and takes into account the peculiarities of Cantons.

(3) The Federation takes into account the financial burden associated with implementing the federal law by leaving sufficient financial resources to the Cantons and by taking care of an equitable financial adjustment.

Article 47 Autonomy of the Cantons

The Federation preserves the autonomy of the Cantons.

Article 48 Intercantonal Treaties

(1) The Cantons may adopt intercantonal treaties and create common organizations and institutions. They may, in particular, fulfill tasks of regional interest together.

(2) The Federation may participate within the limits of its competencies.

(3) Intercantonal treaties may not be contrary to the law or interest of the Federation or to the rights of other Cantons. They have to be made known to the Federation.

Article 49 Supremacy of and Respect for Federal Law

(1) Federal law takes precedence over contrary cantonal law.

(2) The Federation ensures the adherence to the Federal law by the cantons.

Section 3 Municipalities

Article 50 [General Provisions]

(1) The autonomy of Municipalities is guaranteed according to cantonal law. (2) The Federation considers the possible consequences of its actions for the Municipalities.

(3) In doing so, it takes into account the special situation of cities, agglomerations, and mountain regions.

Section 4 Federal Guarantees

Article 51 Cantonal Constitutions

(1) Every Canton adopts a democratic constitution. It requires the approval of the people and has to be subjected to a revision if the majority of the people so requires.

(2) The cantonal constitutions need the guarantee of the Federation. The Federation guarantees the constitutions if they are not contrary to federal law.

Article 52 Constitutional Order

(1) The Federation protects the constitutional order of the Cantons.

(2) The Federation intervenes, if the order in a Canton is disturbed or threatened and the respective Canton cannot protect it alone or with the help of other Cantons.

Article 53 Existence and Territory of the Cantons

(1) The Federation protects the existence and the territory of the Cantons.

(2) Modifications of the established Cantons require the assent of the electorate and Cantons concerned as well as of the People and the Cantons at large.

(3) Modifications of the territory of a Canton require the assent of the population and Cantons concerned as well as the approval of the Federal Parliament in the form of a federal decree.

(4) Rectifications of boundaries may be achieved by convention among the Cantons concerned.

Chapter 2:Powers


Section 1 Relations with foreign countries

Article 54 Foreign Relations

(1) Foreign Relations are a federal matter.

(2) The Federation strives to preserve the independence of Switzerland and its welfare; in particular the Federation contributes to alleviate need and poverty in the world, to promote respect for human rights and democracy, the peaceful coexistence of nations, and the preservation of natural resources.

(3) The Federation considers the competencies of the Cantons and preserves their interests.

Article 55 Participation of the Cantons in Decisions of Foreign Policy

(1) The Cantons participate in the preparation of decisions of foreign policy concerning their competencies or their essential interests.

(2) The Federation informs the Cantons timely and comprehensively, and consults them.

(3) The Consideration of the Cantons has particular weight when their competencies are affected. In these cases, the Cantons participate in international negotiations as appropriate.

Article 56 Relations between the Cantons and Foreign Countries

(1) The cantons may conclude treaties with foreign countries within the domain relevant to their competencies.

(2) These treaties may not be contrary to the law and interests of the Federation nor to the rights of other Cantons. Before concluding a treaty, the Cantons have to inform the Federation.

(3) The Cantons may deal directly with subordinated foreign authorities; in other cases, the relations of the Cantons with foreign countries are conducted by the Federation.

Section 2 Security, National and Civil Defense

Article 57 Security

(1) The Federation and the Cantons provide the security of the country and the protection of the population within the limits of their respective competencies.

(2) They coordinate their efforts in the field of inner security.

Article 58 Army

(1) Switzerland has an army. The army is organized, in principle, as a militia.

(2) The army serves to prevent war and contributes to maintain peace; it defends the country and its population. It supports the civil authorities to repel serious threats to internal security or to cope with other exceptional circumstances. The law may provide for further tasks.

(3) The use of the army is a federal matter. The Cantons may use their formations for the maintenance of public order on their territory, if the means of the civil authorities are no longer sufficient for the defence against serious threats to inner security.

Article 59 Military and Alternative Service

(1) Every Swiss man has to render military service. The law provides for an alternative service.

(2) For Swiss women, military service is voluntary.

(3) Swiss men who render neither military nor alternative service owe a tax. The tax is levied by the Federation and is assessed and collected by the Cantons.

(4) The Federation adopts rules on fair compensation for loss of income.

(5) Persons, who render military or alternative service and thereby suffer health impairment or lose their live, have the right, for themselves or for their relatives to appropriate support by the Federation.

Article 60 Organisation, Instruction, and Equipment of the Army

(1) Legislation on the military as well as on organization, instruction, and on equipment of the army, is a federal matter.

(2) The Cantons are competent, within the limits of federal law, to form cantonal troops, to appoint and to promote officers of such troops, and to furnish a part of their clothing and equipment.

(3) The Federation may take over military installations of the Cantons against adequate compensation.

Article 61 Civil defence

(1) Legislation on civil protection of people and goods against consequences of armed conflicts is a federal matter.

(2) The Federation adopts rules on the intervention of civil defence in catastrophes and emergencies.

(3) The Federation may make the civil defence service compulsory for men. For women it is voluntary.

(4) The Federation adopts rules on fair compensation for loss of income.

(5) Persons, who render civil defence service and thereby suffer health impairment or lose their live, have the right for themselves or for their relatives to appropriate support by the Federation.

Section 3 Education, Research, and Culture

Article 62 Education


(1) The school system is a cantonal matter. (2) The Cantons provide for sufficient primary education open to all children. The primary education is compulsory and is subordinated to state direction or supervision. It is free of charge in public schools. The school year begins between mid-August and mid-September.

Article 63 Professional Education and Universities

(1) The Federation adopts rules on professional education.

(2) The Federation operates technical Universities. It may establish, operate, or support further Universities and other institutions of higher learning. The Federation may make its support dependent on the fact that coordination is guaranteed.

Article 64 Research

(1) The Federation furthers scientific research.

(2) The Federation may make promotion particularly dependent on the fact that coordination is guaranteed. (3) The Federation may establish, adopt, or operate research institutions.

Article 65 Statistics

(1) The Federation collects the necessary statistical data on the status and evolution of the population, the economy, the society, the territory, and the environment in Switzerland.

(2) The Federation may adopt rules on harmonizing and keeping official registers to facilitate the collection of data.

Article 66 Support of Education

(1) The Federation may grant financial contributions to the Canton's expenses for scholarships and other training aids.

(2) In addition to the cantonal measures and while respecting cantonal autonomy in school matters, the Federation may seize own measures to promote education.

Article 67 Education of Young People and Adults

(1) In the accomplishment of their tasks, the Federation and the Cantons take into account the special needs for development and protection of children and young people.

(2) The Federation may, in addition to cantonal measures, support the extracurricular work with children and young people and the education of adults.

Article 68 Sport

(1) The Federation promotes sport, particularly sport education.

(2) The Federation operates a sport school.

(3) The Federation may adopt rules on youth sport, and may declare sport education compulsory.

Article 69 Culture

(1) The Cantons are responsible in matters of culture.

(2) The Federation may support cultural efforts of national interest, and encourage art and music, particularly in matters of education.

(3) In the accomplishment of its tasks, the Federation considers the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country.

Article 70 Languages

(1) The official languages of the Federation are German, French, and Italian. In communication with persons of Romansh language, the Romansh is also an official language.

(2) The Cantons designate their official languages. In order to preserve harmony between linguistic communities, they respect the traditional territorial distribution of languages, and consider the indigenous linguistic minorities.

(3) The Federation and the Cantons further communication and exchange between linguistic communities.

(4) The Federation supports the plurilingual Cantons in the fulfilment of their particular tasks.

(5) The Federation supports the measures taken by the Cantons of Grisons and Ticino to maintain and to promote Romansh and Italian.

Article 71 Film

(1) The Federation may further Swiss film production and film culture.

(2) The Federation may adopt rules to promote the variety and quality of cinematographic works offered.

Article 72 Church and State

(1) The regulation of the relationship between church and state is a cantonal matter.

(2) Within the limits of their competencies, the Federation and the Cantons may take measures to maintain public peace between members of the various religious communities.

(3) { Abolished by amendment (15 Dec 2000), confirmed and set into force by public referendum on 10 June 2001: "No diocese may be set up without the consent of the Federation." }

Section 4 Environment and Zoning

Article 73 Sustainable Development

The Federation and the Cantons are engaged to establish a durable balanced relationship between nature, particularly its renewal capacity, and its use by human beings.

Article 74 Protection of the Environment

(1) The Federation adopts rules on the protection of human beings and their natural environment against harmful or irritating effects.

(2) The Federation provides for the fact that such effects are avoided. The costs of such avoidance and removal carry the causers.

(3) The execution of the regulations falls to the Cantons, as far as the law does not reserve it for the Federation.

Article 75 Zoning

(1) The Federation establishes principles on zoning. Zoning is incumbent on the Cantons and serves to achieve an appropriate and moderate use of the land and its ordered inhabitation.

(2) The Federation furthers and coordinates the efforts of the Cantons and collaborates with them.

(3) The Federation and the Cantons consider the needs of zoning while fulfilling their tasks.

Article 76 Water

(1) The Federation provides within its competencies for the moderate use and protection of the water resources, and for the defence against harmful effects of water.

(2) The Federation establishes principles on the preservation and opening of water resources, on the use of water for the production of energy and for cooling purpose, and on other interventions into the water cycle.

(3) The Federation adopts rules on water protection, on securing appropriate residual water, on hydraulic engineering, on the safety of dams and on interventions to influence precipitation.

(4) The Cantons dispose of the water resources. They may levy duties for the water use within the limits of federal legislation. The Federation has the right to use waters for its transporting enterprises; for which the Federation pays a duty and compensation.

(5) On rights concerning international water resources and therewith connected duties, the Federation decides in consultation with the Cantons concerned. If the Cantons concerned cannot agree upon rights to intercantonal water resources, the Federation will decide (6) In the fulfilment of its tasks, the Federation considers the requests of the cantons from which the water originates.

Article 77 Forests

(1) The Federation provides for the fulfillment of the forest's protective, economic and welfare functions.

(2) The Federation establishes principles for the protection of forest.

(3) The Federation furthers measures for the preservation of forest.

Article 78 Nature and Cultural Heritage

(1) The protection of nature and cultural heritage is a cantonal matter.

(2) The Federation considers the requests of the protection of nature and cultural heritage while fulfilling its tasks. The Federation saves scenery, localities, historical sites, and natural and cultural monuments, the Federation preserves them untouched if public interests so request.

(3) The Federation may support efforts towards the protection of nature and cultural heritage, and may by contract or by expropriation, acquire or secure objects of national importance.

(4) The Federation adopts rules on the protection of fauna and flora, and on the preservation of their habitats in the natural variety. The Federation protects endangered species from extinction.

(5) Moors and moorlands of special beauty and national importance are protected. Therein may neither constructions be built, nor may alterations of any kind be made to the soil. Excluded are constructions which serve the protection or the previous agricultural use of the moors and moorlands.

Article 79 Fishery and Hunting

The Federation establishes principles over practice of fishery and hunt, in particular for the preservation of the diversity of species of fish, wildly living mammals and birds.

Article 80 Animal Protection

(1) The Federation adopts rules on animal protection.

(2) The Federation regulates in particular:

a. the keeping and care of animals;

b. experiments and intervention on live animals;

c. the use of animals;

d. the importation of animals and animal products;

e. animal trade and transportation of animals;

f. the killing of animals

(3) The execution of the regulations falls to the cantons, as far as the law does not reserve it for the Federation.

Section 5 Public Works and Transportation

Article 81 Public Works

The Federation may, in the interest of the whole or a large part of the country, establish and operate public works or support their establishment.

Article 82 Road Traffic

(1) The Federation adopts rules on road traffic.

(2) The Federation exercises supervision over roads of national importance; it may determine which transit roads have to remain open to traffic.

(3) The use of public roads is free of charge. The Federal Parliament may authorize exceptions.

Article 83 National Highways

(1) The Federation guarantees the establishment of a network of national highways and the utilization of these highways.

(2) The Cantons build and maintain their national highways according to the rules and under supervision of the Federation.

(3) The Federation and the Cantons carry the costs of the national highways together. The participation of each Canton is allocated according to the charge caused by the national highways, their interest in these highways and their financial capacity.

Article 84 Alpine Transit

(1) The Federation protects the alpine area from the negative effects of the transit traffic. The Federation limits the nuisance caused by such traffic to a level not harmful to persons, animals, and plants as well as their environment.

(2) Transalpine freight in border-to-border transit is to be transported by rail. The Federal Government takes the necessary measures. Exceptions are permitted only if they are inevitable. They have to be specified by law.

(3) The transit route capacity in the alpine area may not be increased. Excluded from this restriction are by-pass roads, which relieve localities of the transit traffic.

Article 85 Charge on Heavy Goods Traffic

(1) The Federation may levy a duty on the heavy goods traffic dependent on motor power or consumption, as far as the heavy traffic causes costs for the public, which are not covered by other services or duties

(2) Net proceeds of the duty are used for the covering of costs in connection with road traffic.

(3) The Cantons have a share in the net proceeds. The shares are calculated by considering the special effects of the duty on mountainous and peripheral areas.

Article 86 Motor Fuels Consumption Tax and other Traffic Charges

(1) The Federation may levy a consumption tax on hydrocarbon fuels.

(2) The Federation levies a duty for the use of the national highways by motor vehicles and trailers, which are not subordinated to the heavy traffic delivery.

(3) The Federation disposes half of the net proceeds from the consumption tax on hydrocarbon fuels as well as net proceeds of the national highway tax for the following tasks and expenses in connection with road traffic:

a. Construction, maintenance, and operation of national highways;

b. Measures for the promotion of combined traffic and the transport of accompanied motor vehicles as well as for the separation of traffic;

c. Contributions to the construction of main roads;

d. Contributions at buildings of protection against forces of nature and at measures of the environmental and landscape protection made necessary by road traffic;

e. General contributions to cantonal costs of roads open to motor vehicles, and to the financial compensation in roads;

f. Contributions to cantons without national highways and to cantons with alpine roads serving international traffic.