The EU wants Austria to stop ‘discriminatory’ tolls on the B108 Felbertauern road on threat of legal action. It might make an interesting test case for the upcoming German ‘foreigner vignette’.
Also, as the 140 year old Harwich-Esbjerg ferry route comes to an end – the last service between the UK and Scandinavia – a catch up on the latest from Norwegian Seaways and Regina Line.
And, popular support is building to abolish the wincingly expensive Storebaelt Bridge toll in Denmark. Major works start on the A7 Hamburg-Kiel. Landslide risk closes Georgia’s Military Highway again. A massive sinkhole in Crimea claims six lives.
EU TELLS AUSTRIA: FELBERTAUERN TOLLS ARE DISCRIMINATORY
Obvious impact on German ‘foreigner vignette’ dispute.
The EU wants Austria to end discriminatory tolls on the B108 Ferlbertauern Strasse.
For locals, and people who work in the area, it costs just €4 compared to €10 for everybody else. Four axle trucks pay €80 each way, for instance, compared to €30 for locally-registered drivers.
The Commission says the difference is ‘disproportionately high in the case of private cars and distorts competition between operators in the case of commercial vehicles’.
The investigation was started after a German tourist brought a formal complaint early last year.
A decision had been expected in May. The boss of the road operator, and others, had speculated the delay was due to the dispute over the German ‘foreigner toll’. Austria has been one of its most vociferous opponents. Former transport minister Doris Bures said in July she would ‘exhaust all legal channels’ to defeat the plan.
The Commission says it will take the case to the Court of Justice of the EU if no satisfactory response is received within two months.
The B108 is one of a number of roads across the Alps in Austria with tolled sections where drivers do not need the national vignette window sticker. Others include parts of the A9, A10, A11, S16 and the entire A13 Brenner motorway (see more here).
Felbertauern Strasse is midway between the A13 and the A10 Tauernautobahn in central west Austria. It runs for 36km from Matrei in Osttirol and Mittersill, rising and falling around 1,000m, on the direct route between Munich and north east Italy via Kitzbuehel and Lienz.
roundup: DENMARK. Popular support is building to abolish the Storebaelt (Great Belt) Bridge toll. The 18km crossing between Funen and Zealand (Copenhagen) islands, opened in 1998, takes 12mins to drive and currently costs €33 each way for the average car. Added to the €46 toll on the Oresund Link between Copenhagen and Malmo it makes driving between Sweden and Denmark very expensive. Storebaelt was described earlier this month as a ‘state money making machine’ with income set to hit DKK380bn (£40bn) over the next fifty years. The Liberal Alliance party will make abolishing the toll a demand in upcoming budget negotiations. The ‘Bridge Toll, No Thanks’ facebook page has more than 9,000 likes. GERMANY. Widening work kicks off today on the A7 north of Hamburg. The 60km stretch between Schnelsen, at the A23 junction in northern Hamburg, and Bordesholm, at the A215 junction to Kiel, will be mainly three lanes, with some four lane sections. The work lasts until 2018. GEORGIA. With heavy rainfall expected in the new few days, and two serious landslides so far this year, the Lars checkpoint on the Georgia-Russia border in the Darliali Gorge – formerly the Georgian Military Highway – is closed for the time being. CRIMEA. Six people died and two were seriously injured on Saturday night when an eight metre square sink hole suddenly opened up on the TO106 Simferopol-Nikolayevka highway on Saturday night in the south west of the peninsula.