A prominent conservative politician in Germany wants to increase tolls on trucks and invest the proceeds in rail to fight climate change.
Andreas Jung, a member of Parliament who is in the Christian Democratic Union party, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that the toll would apply to trucks 3.5 tons and above on all roads in the country. “The additional federal funds would flow into rail freight traffic,” he said.
Truck tolls already generate a large amount of money in Germany, but they largely support road infrastructure. After increases in 2018, the government projects to collect more than €7 billion per year (a euro equals $1.11).
Jung offered few details about his proposal. But it comes as Germany’s federal governing coalition prepares legislation to meet its 2030 climate change targets.
It seems likely that any legislation will have a significant impact on transport, a sector that Chancellor Angela Merkell has called a “problem child.”
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Despite overall declines in other industries, Germany’s transportation sector generated more emissions in 2017 than it did in 1990, according to data from the Federal Environment Agency.
With that in mind, it’s understandable that politicians are looking for ways to reign in the environmental impact of trucking.
But collecting money from trucking to support rail as Jung suggested seems problematic considering that a train can’t capable of the same level of precision in deliveries.
Redirecting that money to support zero or low emissions trucks sounds like a more practical approach – and one that rewards the industry for improving itself.
Hammer down everyone!