Germany to charge foreign drivers from 2016
Foreign motorists can expect to start paying to drive on German motorways from 2016, the country’s transport minister said on Thursday.
Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he is aiming to have the toll in place from January 1st 2016, describing that date as “the focus”.
It is the first time Dobrindt has put a date on the introduction of a motorway foreigner fee.
Critics argue it is against European Union discrimination laws, but its supporters say it can be introduced by reducing road tax on Germans and then making everyone pay a charge to use the motorways.
In doing so foreigners would have to start paying, while Germans would pay the same amount as before as their road tax would have been reduced.
The government hopes to raise tens of millions a year from the charge to help fill the black hole in Germany’s infrastructure pot.
"Even those vehicles from abroad which use German roads without paying road tax will participate in the financing," Dobrindt said.
Austria and the Netherlands are threatening law suits to stop the toll being introduced, arguing it is contrary to EU law.
But Dobrindt claimed it was a “matter of justice” that all drivers who use German roads pay.
The Christian Social Union (CSU) made introducing the toll on foreign drivers one of its election pledges during last year’s campaign.
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