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Motorway tolls on HGVs: system was overdue, but has potential

Press release 27.11.2009
 

Motorway tolls on HGVs: system was overdue, but has potential

“Disadvantages for rail freight must now be corrected”

road charge traffic sign

In need of development: Road tolls on heavy goods vehicles

©iStockphoto.com/Rudi Wambach

Berlin. Now that the controversial secret agreements between the federal government and the Toll Collect Consortium have come to light, the German Pro-Rail Alliance has warned against condemning all aspects of the road charges. “It is obvious that the government of the day made a mess of the contract, guaranteeing Toll Collect lucrative profits,” said the managing director of the the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, “but charges on heavy goods vehicles is nevertheless still an important mechanism that should now be developed and extended.” Tolls should now be charges on all sizes of HGVs and on all types of road, he said. Only trucks over 12 tonnes currently pay charges, and only on national motorways, whereas freight trains have to pay track charges for every kilometre. “Fully developed road charges would be a suitable mechanism for dismantling the competitive disadvantages faced by rail freight,” added Flege. “This is why we regard motorway charges, introduced with many delays in 2005, as a system that was long overdue but with potential.” Flege warned the new conservative-liberal government against using the funds raised from trucks charges exclusively for road construction. “To date, the consensus has been to also use the income to fund the waterways and rail infrastructure, relieving congestion on the roads. The current allocation formula has been a success.”

Regarding the controversial agreements, long kept secret by the government, Flege drew attention to the government's pending damages law suit against Toll Collect. “We are talking about nearly five billion euros that could be used for funding infrastructure projects,” said Flege. That would be the equivalent of a “third economic stimulus programme” and should shared among all forms of transport. “At least it would compensate us for the original delays in concluding the contract.”

 

Allianz pro Schiene is the German alliance for the promotion of environmentally friendly and safe rail transport. It unites 16 non-profit organisations: the environmental organisations BUND, NABU, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and NaturFreunde Deutschlands; the consumer groups Pro Bahn, DBV and VCD; the automobile clubs ACE and ACV; the three rail unions TRANSNET, GDBA and GDL as well as the rail organisations BDEF, BF Bahnen, VBB and VDEI. Its member associations represent more than 2 million individual members. Allianz pro Schiene is supported by 93 companies operating in the rail sector.

 

Dr. Barbara Mauersberg
Press Officer

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