An annual pass to use Germany’s autobahns will cost up to €130 if the plans are implemented
The German parliament (Bundestag) has set the wheels in motion for the introduction of a toll on German autobahns. The toll will affect drivers of vehicles registered outside the country, including those from EU member states.
Following years of negotiations with the European Commission in Brussels, which labelled the proposals ‘discriminatory’, and plenty of debate within the German parliament itself, new amendments have now been given the thumbs up and the autobahn toll could be implemented as soon as 2019.
The upper house of parliament (Bundesrat) is the only obstacle now standing in the way of the proposals, which at one point seemed impossible, as the European Commission dug its heels in and said it would take the Bundestag to court before allowing the foreign driver toll to go ahead.
However, in a major U-turn in November, Brussels relented to the demands of the German parliament, paving a clear path for the Bundestag’s toll.
If the toll is introduced, those driving within or through Germany in a vehicle registered to another country will be required to pay a fee.
Under the proposals, German residents will also be charged an annual toll to use the nation’s autobahns and federal state roads, but they will receive compensation in the form of a discount off their road tax.
Early figures suggest an annual pass will cost between €67 and €130 (for both German residents and non-residents), depending on the size of the vehicle, its fuel type, and its eco-friendly credentials. Unfortunately, drivers of foreign vehicles will of course receive no compensation.
For those who are just nipping through Germany or making a short stay, a 10-day pass and a two-monthly pass will be available at an estimated cost of between €2.50 and €25, and €7 and €50 respectively, again depending upon the vehicle’s credentials.
The toll has been heavily criticised by many neighbouring EU nations, including Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria, with the latter’s Transport Minister, Jörg Leichtfried, urging the German Bundesrat to “pull the ripcord and bring down this discriminatory foreigner toll”.
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