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Germany's CSU Backs Road Tax Vignette

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 October 2011

During a recent party conference in Nuremberg, Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU) gave their backing to German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, voting by a large majority in favour of plans to introduce a road tax vignette (Pkw-Vignette) in Germany.

Defending his plans to introduce a road user fee in Germany, Ramsauer argued that the vignette would not only be the quickest mechanism to implement but would also be the least costly.

Alluding to the fact that it is also a matter of justice, Ramsauer emphasized that individuals in Germany current deem it unfair that they must pay a toll charge in nearly all other neighbouring countries even though foreign motorists have no such fee to pay in Germany.

In accordance with Ramsauer’s plans, a form of compensation is envisaged for German motorists. Indeed, according to Ramsauer, there are several models designed to alleviate the burden for domestic drivers currently under examination, and which must be discussed later in further detail, including the idea of lowering the country’s existing car tax (Kfz-Steuer).

Providing his support for the transport minister’s plans for a road tax vignette, Bavaria’s State Minister of the Interior Joachim Hermann underlined the need “to send out a clear signal from the party conference”.

Although coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and car clubs in Germany remain opposed to the idea of introducing a car toll, Ramsauer’s proposal is clearly gaining critical momentum.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has up to now categorically ruled out the idea of introducing a car toll in Germany, recently indicated her willingness to discuss the issue and to place the idea on the political agenda if a coalition partner expresses a wish to do so.

Faced with an alarming lack of funding for Germany’s road network, Ramsauer called last month for an ‘open debate’ to be held on the idea of introducing a car toll on the country’s motorways.

Alluding at the time to a “dramatic funding dilemma” as regards the financing of planned road projects, Ramsauer explained at the time that in the next five to seven years around a quarter of Germany’s 39,000 bridges would be in need of renovation.

Ramsauer underlined the importance of using additional revenues to ensure that the country’s road network is both quieter and safer, noting that by 2015, a total of EUR10bn (USD13bn) in investment in transport infrastructure in Germany will be needed.

TAGS: individuals | tax | travel and tourism | Germany

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