Germany Riles Neighbors With Foreigners-Only Toll Road Idea

 @catadunnc.dunn@ibtimes.com
on July 08 2014 10:48 AM
Germany Exports
Germany's neighbors are experiencing sticker shock over a proposed toll for foreign drivers. Reuters/Ina Fassbender

Germany wants foreign drivers who traverse its famous Autobahns to pay a new toll -- and the country’s European Union neighbors aren’t happy about it.

The proposal, unveiled Monday by Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt, would charge all car drivers around €88 ($120) yearly starting in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports. But Germans would get a tax break to offset the toll.

The plan has already rankled Austria, one of nine countries that shares a border with Germany. “If Germany thinks it can discriminate against Austrian drivers, this will be met with my resistance,” Austrian Transportation Minister Doris Bures said on Monday, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Nor is the European Union’s transportation commissioner, Siim Kallas, pleased. “Non-discrimination is a basic principle of EU law,” said a spokeswoman for Kallas, according to the Web site EurActiv. “It applies to road charging as to everything else.”

Germany’s Dobrindt said the plan was “in line with European law,” and that it would raise €625 million a year for infrastructure repair, the Journal reported. The EU would have to approve the plan before it could take effect.

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