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New transport minister ignites debate over car toll for autobahn

DDP/The Local · 5 Nov 2009, 12:03

Published: 05 Nov 2009 10:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Nov 2009 12:03 GMT+01:00

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Ramsauer, from Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), told daily Passauer Neue Presse that the federal budget could no longer pay the cost of building motorways and mooted road tolls for passenger cars, or PKW-Maut, as a solution.

“We want the road system to be more strongly financed by users,” Ramsauer said. “The vehicle charge (on trucks) was a start. To reduce the dependence of the necessary capital spending on the federal budget, we want all options on the table and to be examined."

But later, he said in Berlin that “no mention of a PKW-Maut is actually in the coalition agreement” and that a road toll was therefore not on the agenda.

The Federation of Taxpayers quickly slammed the road toll idea as "a scam."

"The Pkw-Maut is an old idea being revitalised to create revenue opportunities," federation chief Reiner Holznagel told the Leipziger Volkszeitung. "The driver is still the Finance Minister's cash cow."

But the Premier-elect of Baden-Württemberg, Stefan Mappus, came out in favour of tolls, saying they should be introduced by 2013.

"I hope that we can even implement it in this legislative period, because every year without tolls is a year of lost revenue," he told Financial Times Deutschland.

Tolls would raise revenue from foreign vehicles by 20 percent, he said.

Presently the road charge for the autobahn is imposed only on goods vehicles such as trucks, which is called the LKW-Maut, but Ramsauer indicated it could be expanded to all vehicles.

Trucks pay a road charge in Germany based on the distance driven, the size of the vehicle and its carbon emission rating. The toll charge was introduced in 2005, partly as a way of charging foreign freight vehicles for using German motorways.

The average truck pays about 15 cents per kilometre and most tolling is done automatically.

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Ramsauer said he would soon be setting up an expert panel to consider the options.

He stressed there would be no increase in the rate of tolls on trucks while the economy was struggling.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

05:16 November 6, 2009 by Bushdiver
For your information Gorgo the cost of living in the Scandinavian countries are considerably higher than here in Germany hence the pay is also better not to mention the fact that in Scandinavia they didn't screw there citizens by switching to the Euro like Germany did. Remember Pay is half what it was in D Marks while the cost of practically everything here has doubled. also @ Small Town Boy. You obviously are not living in Germany or are just plain naive. Although the German highways are the best in the world I for one would't pay extra so I could drive as fast as I want. Most of the time it's a crap shoot if your on the highway if you're going to wind up in some 20KM traffic jam. What amazes me the most is that these overpaid politicians that are elected to office never seem to do much for the average citizen but are always looking for a way to steal more money from the working people here. Maybe they should consider a pay cut to help thins along.
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