- Politics and Social Issues
The German Autobahn May Become Biased
It certainly is an interesting concept and one can see how it might work even in the USA. There are arguments for it and legitimate ones to help pay for road maintenance. Of course, the German plan to charge tolls to drive on the autobahn is not new, but this one has a new wrinkle: the toll is only for foreign drivers.
Europe is made of numerous countries with different languages and one can drive from France to Italy free of charge. The system is much like the Interstate highway in the USA. But, the Germans are unhappy about maintenance costs and feel that any driver that is not a German or with German plates, should be taxed to use its highways. The plan would begin in 2016 and charge up to $165 dollars a year to foreign plates. Unlike other countries, Germany has no toll highways, so German resentment has been building because when Germans travel outside their borders, nearly all countries have toll roads. In a sense, the Germans are trying to even things out by charging foreign plates. If the law is passed, it would generate an estimated $600 million dollars a year, yet already, the surrounding countries are in opposition calling it discrimination because roads are being used by a foreigner. Austria and Belgium are strongly in opposition and have said already they will exhaust all legal moves to stop it.
The German plan could be stopped by the European Union of States that Germany is a member of. The key element they will look at is does the law treat Germans and non-German travelers equally. How the law would actually be implemented seems to rely license plate scanning devices as cars travel main autobahns. But the main difference between the German plan and others is that in France, everyone pays tolls. In Germany, only non-German plates would.