Under the terrestrial transport agreement, Switzerland is to progressively abandon a ban on heavy goods vehicles over 28 tonnes, allowing unlimited access to lorries up to 34 tonnes from 2001 and quotas for 40-tonne vehicles from this year, leading to free access by 2005.
In return, the EU is allowing Switzerland to continue charging goods vehicles for using transalpine routes. The exact level of permitted charges was hotly disputed, partly because of Austrian fears that continued high Swiss tolls would simply push transalpine commercial traffic onto its roads. Austria currently faces possible condemnation in the European Court of Justice for the level of tolls it charges for using the Brenner Alpine route (ENDS Daily 25 February).
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