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Aliens to pay tolls for Autobahn drives

2014-12-18 09:10

GREEN LIGHT: Germany is set to implement toll roads for foreigners using the Autobahn. Image: Shutterstock

BERLIN, Germany - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has approved draft legislation to implement road-tolling on foreign drivers using roads through Germany.

The tolling will affect about 700-million foreigners who drive in Germany and will be imposed from early 2016. It could raise about the equivalent of R7.1-billion annual revenue for investment in roads, including the nation's vast freeway system - the Autobahn.

POSSIBLE LEGAL BATTLES

German drivers will be exempted. They already pay road tax, but it will be reduced.

Road-tolling was one of the more controversial parts of an agreement reached in 2013 between Merkel and her country's left-leaning Social Democrats to forge a new coalition government. It has taken criticism from the European Union.

EU rules stipulate that national and foreign drivers should not be treated differently by the various union governments; some politicians have said the legislation opens Germany to possible legal battles at international level.

The law will now be debated by the German parliament, the Bundestag, in which Merkel's Christian Democratic Union coalition holds 504 of 631 seats.

'SAND IN THE GEARS'

Social Democrat parliamentarian Soeren Bartol said: "This will be a difficult process. Many open questions remain."

However Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavaria-only segment of Merkel's Conservative Party rejected criticism of the plans. He told DPA: "All the objections that come in on a near-daily basis aren't intended to improve the law any more, they're meant to throw sand in the gears."

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