Autobahn Fees

Toll on Foreign Motorists Approved

Autobahn in the night dpa
Is the price right?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany hopes the controversial tax on drivers from abroad can help finance infrastructure projects, but opponents doubt it will generate the amount of money  expected.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany is among the few remaining countries in Europe which does not yet have a road toll.
    • The coalition government and the E.U. have long debated the planned road toll and whether it is legal for the tax to be focused on drivers from abroad.
    • The Transport Ministry estimates the new tax disc system will generate €500 million, or $545 million, but experts have questioned this figure.
  • Audio

    Audio

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It will soon be time for foreign drivers to pay up in Germany.

The country’s right-left coalition government in Berlin has agreed to impose a controversial road toll for highways that only is paid by non-German drivers. The measure is expected to be passed by the Bundestag on Friday.

Rejected by German lawmakers, including many members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own ruling party, the new law is a compromise typical of Germany’s coalition politics.

The tolls on foreign drivers — which Germany’s own motorist association, ADAC, and the European Union have warned is illegal — is a concession to Bavaria, whose Christian Social Union party is a key bloc in Ms. Merkel’s ruling coalition.

Bavaria in southern Germany borders on Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, and is likely to benefit most from the additional income from imposing tolls on drivers from abroad.

“This is a success for transport policy,” said Ulrich Lange, the CSU’s spokesperson for transport policy.

After months of haggling, the three parties in Germany’s ruling coalition have agreed this week to details of the law, according to information obtained by Handelsblatt.

The deal attempts to address concerns of opponents and the European Commission in Brussels, which has threatened to torpedo the toll.

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