According to a new proposal, chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is ready to unveil legislation that would make the days of Autobahn’s free use history – at least when it comes to foreigners traveling in passenger cars.
Today, although countries where foreigners pay taxes or tolls to use their highways surround Germany, the Autobahn is free to use for all passenger cars – foreign and domestic. The measure that would be introduced by the chancellor Angela Merkel’s government could see non-German citizens driving on the country’s motorways pay as much as 130 euros ($164) a year.
The issue has been an important subject for debate between Merkel’s party and her Bavarian allies in the coalition government – the latter complaining about the road tolls German drivers pay in Switzerland and Austria. The drivers that own a German-registered car could deduct the new toll from the vehicle’s tax.
According to Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, the decision to make foreign drivers pay for the use of Europe’s largest national highway network is just a move to “fill a fairness gap.” The proposal – if it passes the scrutiny of German lawmakers and the European Comission, would only take effect starting from 2016. The unlimited-speed highway network has been a great tool of propaganda for both GErman tourism and its high-end carmakers – from Porsche to BMW.