A surprise announcement from the German Minister for Transport that the country’s truck toll system will expand, though there’s some good news too. Polish engineers carry out a heavy duty stress test on a bridge on the A1. Dutch truckers will hold more motorway go-slows, but won’t say when. Gibraltar queue misery watch. Kosovo road blocks, the EU invests in Stockholm’s inner city ferry port, plus more controversy for the North Marmara Highway.
GERMAN ROAD TOLL OVERHAUL.
Big changes for trucks, few new details about cars.
In his first public announcement since being appointed Federal Minister for Transport last December, Alexander Dobrindt has today given some concrete details about the upcoming overhaul of Germany’s road toll system.
Dobrindt was previously Secretary General of the ruling CSU party in Bavaria where the idea for road tolls for car drivers first originated.
However, the big news is that the existing truck toll system will be extended to all vehicles weighing 7.5t and over from the first half next year.
This will mean an extra 80,000 trucks paying the per kilometre charge.
By 2018, a further 1,000km of dual carriageway national roads will also brought into the toll network.
However, the tolls themselves will be reduced. This is because low interest rates mean the costs of maintaining roads is less which must be reflected in the toll charges.
The €2bn the lower tolls would cost each year meant the system had to be expanded to make up for the lost revenue.
Meanwhile, there were few new details about the upcoming toll for cars though Dobrindt did confirm that the government bill will be published before the summer recess, that the legislative procedure would be finished this year and the charge will be introduced in 2016.
However, an interview published on the ministry website says the toll (or vignette) will cost around €100 per annum and there will be discounts for one-off or infrequent users.
It is understood a similar pay-as-you-go electronic toll for cars was rejected over privacy concerns.
Watch the announcement here (German only).
NETHERLANDS. Disgruntled Dutch truckers have decided the date(s) of their next nationwide motorway go-slow strike but won’t announce it beforehand to make it more effective according to local reports. They previously promised a ‘warm spring and hot summer’ of strike action. KOSOVO. ‘Hundreds of Serbs’ have today blocked the road north to the Serbian border between Mitrovica and Leposavic after a dispute with EULEX peacekeepers. GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: delays topped out at two hours today with, at one point mid-afternoon, 22 cars crossing in 30mins. SWEDEN. A relatively substantial €14m is being invested by the EU into expanding capacity at Stockholm’s inner city Värta-Frihamnen (Vartahamnen) ferry port. Part of the Nordic Triangle road/rail/ship project. Eleven routes currently serve the port, only three to outside Scandinavia: Tallinn, Riga and St Petersburg. TURKEY. More controversy over the in-build North Marmara Highway, across the northern Bosphorus Strait near Istanbul, and the alleged archaeological and environmental damage. Also see this video from AFP: