German lorry charging scheme resurrected
Germany should now introduce distance-based charging of heavy lorries on the nation's motorways next year, after the government extracted improved terms from a consortium of major firms on Sunday. After a succession of technical problems and amidst spiralling costs, the government cancelled Toll Collect's contract a fortnight ago (EED 17/02/04). The consortium will now launch a simpler version of the satellite-based tolling system in 2005, before introducing more sophisticated elements in 2006. If the technology fails, Toll Collect will be liable to pay up to €780m in 2005 and €1bn each year thereafter. See government statement.