After trying to push through a plan late last year to begin taxing foreigners who utilize Germany’s free autobahn, Chancellor Angela Merkel has unveiled her latest proposal late last week to try again with the hopes of getting the plan into effect by 2016.
Under the new plan, drivers who use Germany’s autobahn would need to pay up to 130 euros ($164) every year in taxes. Such a toll would bring in an additional 3.7 billion euros ($4.7 billion) each year, but since Merkel campaigned with a promise of no new taxes, locals with German-registered vehicles would be rebated that cost, bringing the actual tax gain down to 500 million euros.
“What we can see is that we’re standing by the conditions as we laid them out in the coalition treaty,” Merkel told reporters. “German auto drivers will not be additionally burdened. That was my main point.”
The tax is geared towards other Europeans that pass through Germany, taking advantage of the free roadway that is in need of some major infrastructure repair. With the economy still in a bit of a slump, this is seen as a necessary step for improving the roads without increasing taxes on German citizens.
While the European Commission has come out stating that the plan needs to be evaluated to make sure it does not breach the non-discrimination rules of the EU, other European countries have had tolls and taxed in place for years.