German advisors push for transport charging

Expert group recommends lorry charges, vignettes, distance charging for all road users

An independent commission set up last year by the German transport ministry to produce an overall strategy and recommendations on how to finance Germany's transport network has concluded that lorries should pay as they go and that annual charges, or vignettes, should be introduced for all other vehicles.

The group accepts projected growth in car traffic of 10-15% and heavy traffic of 30-50% by 2010 and concludes that "sustainable relief of the national road system by shifting onto rail, inland waterways is not realistic in the medium term". It also suggests that "reduction of environmental impacts can more effectively be achieved through the road system than through policy intervention to bring about a shift".

The commission had already proposed in its interim report (ENDS Daily 14 February) that lorries should pay euros 0.13 (DM 0.25) per kilometre to use Germany's motorways, instead of participation in the European Eurovignette scheme.

Its final report suggests that the motorway charging hardware for which the government sent out a tender earlier this year (ENDS Daily 3 February), be made capable of extension to national roads and of charging on the basis of distance and impact. It also suggests an extension of distance/impact-based charging to all vehicle classes and all national roads. It puts forward a weighted average figure of combined national road and motorway use of euros 0.2 (DM0.4) for lorries, euros 0.06 for commercial vehicles under 12 tonnes and euros 0.026 for cars.

The report also includes the option of vignettes for all other vehicles using Germany's national road network. The vignettes would range from euros 20 for motorcycles to euros 614 per year for commercial vehicles up to 12 tonnes.

Follow Up:
German transport ministry, tel: +49 30 20080, ministerial press release, and the transport commission's final report.

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