The German authorities expect an increase of freight traffic by 60% by 2015. In this context, the federal government decided in September to implement a toll for lorries of more than 12 t using the 12,000 km of German motorways as of August 2003.
The objectives of this new toll are fourfold :
– better take into account the costs generated on roads by lorry traffic, which are estimated 60,000 times bigger for a 40 t truck than for an individual car;
– improvement of the conditions of competition between road and railways for freight traffic, so as to double the volume of rail freight by 2015 and thus reach a share of 24%;
– increase of funds available for building and maintaining transport infrastructures (roads, railways and waterways);
– development of electronic toll systems, that will create thousands new jobs in Germany and give the country a competitive advantage for such systems worldwide.
The law which authorised the implementation of the toll systems says that funds collected will have to be devoted mostly to upgrading the transport infrastructures.
The toll will reach an average 0,15 Â€ per km. It is estimated that a maximum of 2 to 4% of traffic might stop using motorways so as to avoid the toll and rather use other roads. The toll will be paid by all lorries using German motorways, whatever their nationalities.
The German-French consortium ETC made of DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Telekom and Cofiroute won the contract to provide the electronic system, that will use GPS technology. The cost of the system is estimated at Â€ 500m yearly, for a total amount of revenues expected of Â€ 3.5bn per year.