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Ifo's Sinn: Tolls on all German roadways would reduce traffic

DDP/The Local · 28 Aug 2010, 11:11

Published: 28 Aug 2010 11:11 GMT+02:00

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"Germany needs a street toll to control the flow of traffic," Sinn wrote in a guest commentary for the Wirtschaftswoche magazine.

The usage fees envisioned by the Ifo economist would apply to all German motorways and city streets. A toll system would allow people to "use the existing street capacity so that drivers would tie up one another as little as possible," Sinn wrote.

Sinn said tolls would vary based on the time of day – meaning those who were willing to reschedule their car trips during periods of lighter traffic would pay less. Drivers who used roadways at peak travel times would pay a toll to compensate others for the inconvenience of a delayed arrivals.

"This will ease the flow of traffic and increase the transport capacity of the streets," Sinn said – even more than road construction projects worth billions of euros.

The Ifo economist foresaw no problems implementing the programme on German roads, which already feature motorway truck tolls – citing various street toll systems in France and Italy, as well as in cities such as Oslo, Bergen and London.

In Italy, Sinn said, drivers are no longer required to wait in long lines at toll checkpoints; instead, road fees are calculated as cars pass through toll stations and then debited from drivers' bank accounts.

"The driver is no more involved than with his power and telephone bill," Sinn wrote. "Why wouldn't that work in Germany?"

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Under his proposal, the German government would use the additional revenue to remit payment of car levies or other taxes, or put the money toward infrastructure investments. The tolls would also benefit the German economy more broadly:

"If every worker loses two hours a week stuck in traffic, the value of the time that he has needlessly blown away on the road amounts to more than €100 billion each year," Sinn wrote.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:47 August 28, 2010 by whatzup
There certainly needs to be less traffic and better infrastructure in Germany but I wouldn't count on toll money to pay for anything. Like all taxes the toll revenue will melt away into the untraceable mist of the german budget and politician's pockets.
12:26 August 28, 2010 by Aschaffenburgboy
It wont be long b4 we wake up one day and find out that governments around the world are implementing a flush tax. Every time you flush your toilet you will have to pay anywhere from 10 to 30 cents. The biggest mafia in the world... Government.

I am starting to think that living in Anarchy would be much better, at least you would be able to put up a fight when you are getting mugged.

GEZ... VAT.... Income Tax.... Luxury Tax... Property Tax.... how about a big FU Tax?
12:49 August 28, 2010 by wwessing
i do not live in germany,i live in the u.s.a.but i think all yall are want is money,if you put toll on cities street,people would go to stores at night,went they need milk or bread really bad and the stores will lose money then.

thank you

rev.william fred wessinger

13:04 August 28, 2010 by pepsionice
It's curious here. Taxes were invented to pay for society's needs. So today, we manipulate and use them to change society.

From the 15 years I lived in Germany....I'd say this will turn into more of a failure than folks think. If folks can drive on a secondary road to work....even if it takes an additional twenty minutes one-way....then adios to the autobahn.

For those who don't remember....when the trucker's tax came....lots of truckers began to quit elements of the autobahn and went on secondary roads. Then towns went and passed laws to forbid truckers from using their streets to avoid the autobahns. The same episode could repeat here. Thankfully, Germans never remember these episodes.
15:14 August 28, 2010 by BR549
I hope Sinn and Sarrazin don't combine forces to forbid immigrants from using GerMONEY Autobahns and city streets to cut back on traffic! LOL!!

I really like some of the creative taxing ideas GerMONEY comes up with...next, they will measure your lung capacity and charge for the oxygen used.

This country is so full of "experts" and lacking in common sense.
17:46 August 28, 2010 by Bushdiver
You've got to give these German politicians credit. They don't miss a chance at trying to get more money out of our pockets. I would think if they implement this idiotic plan that would then eliminate the normal autosteuer.
00:25 August 29, 2010 by jlmcnamara
Throughout history governments have taxed whatever they feel like with intended and unintended consequences. This guy must sell timeshares in Mallorca because he apparently wants to forbid any German from spending vacation in their own country by making it cheaper to hop on a plane than drive with the family to the North or Baltic Sea.

Schools, government, doctors, and commerce all tend to start in the morning and end in the late afternoon. Are teachers and politicians going to accept this? Of course not, so they'll probably be excused from the tax.

For those motorists that want to avoid traffic, they currently have that option and do not need a tax to realize that. Many truckers on long range hauls wait at rest stops until after rush hour and tend to drive at night when it is much faster to slice through the country.

But average motorists shouldn't have to suffer. They have less flexibility with their iteneraries and many might have children or medical conditions which are the reasons they drive during certain hours.

Only an economist could come up with such a dumb idea. I say tax every economist for coming up with dumb taxes.
04:05 August 29, 2010 by wenddiver
Why would a Government that gives away money to foreign countries need to tax revenue??? Because it's expensive bailing out third world Dictators who hate you.

I wouldn't say that taxing breathing idea too lound, unles you want a government meter on your nose and mouth.
05:36 August 29, 2010 by Dancingbear501
What is going to happen when it begins costing the working poor of Germany more money to go to work than what they make at work? I thought the super-high fuel taxes were supposed to pay for the roads. Silly me!
17:35 August 29, 2010 by Andy in Germanz/y
Good idea. The motor industry has prospered for years because the state has built a massive infrastructure for their products at taxpayers expense, and drivers have been happy for others to pay the bill for the damage road transport does. Finally the free lunch is coming to an end and they don't like it.
12:24 August 30, 2010 by adipk
You are 100% right Mr. "Aschaffenburgboy"

It wont be long b4 we wake up one day and find out that governments around the world are implementing a flush tax. Every time you flush your toilet you will have to pay anywhere from 10 to 30 cents.

Its true , its some how mafia kind of thing. I accept that now a day traffic on the road is increasing but... In my city where i live, there is only few buses during night and they are only on the main route. Got Damn It, you are F*** up when you reached by train from another city and you have to take taxi to go home.

I have just finished my driving license and GOVT is going to impose another tax after expansive insurance. GOT DAMN IT.

Man Aschaffenburgboy You are right GEZ... VAT.... Income Tax.... Luxury Tax... Property Tax.... how about a big FU Tax? I am with you.
12:30 August 30, 2010 by whatzup
No, no you have that wrong! The super high fuel taxes contribute to the transportation industry's plush retirement fund. Now drivers will have to pay again for the privilege of being controlled as to where and when they can drive. With the expansion of the EU don't say you didn't see this coming.
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