“The reduction in the toll rates passed by the Federal Government is the necessary consequence of the new expert opinion on infrastructure costs. Instead, however, the haulage industry will face additional other burdens – with application of the toll to all national roads and the inclusion of trucks over 7.5 t. These burdens will affect German transport companies, the skilled crafts and SMEs in particular, because German trucks already account for 85 per cent of the mileage covered on four-lane national roads subject to tolls. Politicians should keep this in mind and avoid overstretching the truck toll.
“A unified toll rate for autobahns and four-lane national roads makes sense and is practical, because a higher toll on national roads would have had huge detrimental impacts on the economically weak regions in our country.
“The new toll category for Euro-VI trucks will finally bring about better treatment for the most environmentally friendly technology. This is a very late, but important, signal that investments in environmentally friendly engine technology pay off for transport companies.
“By contrast, the planned inclusion of the ‘external costs’ of air pollution is a critical issue. There is no reason why trucks should now be the only mode of freight transport paying a supplementary levy in this form. The system used to date has already taken account of the environmental principle by using a progressive scale of toll rates for the different pollutant classes, and provided incentives for rapid renewal of the fleet. Adding more environmental costs now on top of the toll is counterproductive. This is because the new calculation method reduces the incentive to invest in new, lower-emissions vehicles, due to the reduced spread of the individual toll rates compared with the method used up to now of emissions-based rates.”