Germany scraps controversial truck toll

Germany scraps controversial truck toll

Germany has scrapped a controversial truck toll that would have added up to 15 percent to the cost of transporting ocean containers to and from the country's ports.

Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe has canceled a contract for the satellite-based toll system that was due to be levied on all trucks above 12 tons last August. The toll was postponed for two years following repeated software problems with on-board units used to calculate how far trucks have traveled on Germany's motorways.

Had the 16-cent-per-mile toll taken effect, Germany would have generated up to $4 billion in annual revenue. Approximately 1.4 million trucks over 12 tons, including 400,000 foreign units, use Germany's autobahns each year.

Germany had earmarked the funds for transport projects, including improvements to the rail infrastructure designed to shift freight from congested roads to underutilized rail tracks. Several transport projects have already been postponed and others likely will be canceled.

The government will now reintroduce the "Eurovignette," an older "toll" system for trucks that was abolished in August. Germany also plans to launch a tender for an alternative technology for a new toll system.