• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Transport chief: Charge foreigners on autobahns

The Local · 2 Oct 2013, 10:30

Published: 02 Oct 2013 10:30 GMT+02:00

The toll was ruled out by Chancellor Angela Merkel during her election campaign, but supported by the leader of her Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavarian allies, Horst Seehofer.

Seehofer even stated that introducing the charge on foreigners would be a condition of him forming an alliance with Merkel's CDU after the election.

Then on Tuesday, Merkel’s transport minister - Peter Ramsauer also from the CSU - spoke out in favour of introducing the toll in Germany's next government.

Asked in an interview with the Bild newspaper how Germany could get much needed investment in its roads he warned against a large expansion of tolls on HGVs (heavy goods vehicles), but supported charges on foreign cars.

“We are preparing to expand HGV tolls on motorways but we must be careful that we do not over do it…I prefer a toll on foreign cars,” he said. Ramsauer estimated the charge on foreigners would bring in €800 million a year.

He added the toll would have to sit alongside more government investment to fill a blackhole in the country’s transport network estimated at €7.2 billion a year.

The minister said: “We need both...a guarantee that the budget is going to increase and a toll on foreign vehicles.”

But there is some opposition. The president of the Germany’s ecological motor club, Michael Ziesak, said: “Before cars are used to pay for infrastructure maintenance, HGVs should be charged and not only heavy ones.” Smaller HGVs also damage streets, he said. Meanwhile national car club ADAC urged traffic bottlenecks to be upgraded as quickly as possible.

Ramsauer also warned that Germany’s government would need to invest considerably more money in the country’s infrastructure.

A national transport conference is taking place in Berlin on Wednesday and one government commission has recommended a staggered investment plan in Germany’s transport network until 2019, which would fill the €7.2 billion annual hole.

The conference aims to find new sources of investment to repair Germany’s worst roads and bridges. Expanding tolls on HGVs is one item up for discussion.

The first €2.3 billion of this cash should be invested in the most urgent road repairs, the commission president and former transport minister Kurt Bodewig told the Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper.

He said it was a “realistic option” which could be achieved within three years. A special investment from government funds of €38.5 billion over 15 years is also being suggested.

The Local/tsb

Story continues below…

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,545
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd