After a long dispute, the traffic light coalition has agreed on a roadmap for reforming the truck toll. As the coalition factions announced, a toll reform is to come on January 1, 2024. These included extending the truck toll to vehicles over 3.5 tons and a CO2 toll. So far, the truck toll applies from 7.5 tons.

First, there will be a toll adjustment at the beginning of 2023. Because of a dispute in the coalition, it was questionable whether this deadline should be met. The FDP had accused the Greens of a blockade. The Greens transport politician Matthias Gastel said on Wednesday that it was important for the Greens that the money from the truck toll not only go to the construction of new roads. There is still a lack of money for rail transport and waterways.

Additional income in the future apparently across all modes of transport

Now it was said that in the course of the reform, as agreed in the coalition agreement, the additional income should in future be used for mobility across all modes of transport. SPD faction deputy Detlef Müller told the German Press Agency that the agreement on the toll law was a central concern of the SPD faction. “The understanding was overdue.”

The deputy leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Julia Verlinden, said that with the introduction of a climate protection component in the truck toll from January 1, 2024, the coalition is providing an incentive for more climate-friendly freight transport. “The resulting additional income can then also be used for the expansion of rails and waterways and thus contribute to the shift from road to rail. The reform of the toll law is an urgently needed step on the way to meeting the climate goals in the transport sector.”

Truck tolls are set to increase in early 2023

The agreement means that a planned draft law by the Ministry of Transport with an adjustment to the toll rates from 2023 is to be adopted without change. A special meeting of the Bundestag’s transport committee is planned for Friday, according to coalition circles.

The draft by the Ministry of Transport stipulates that the truck toll should increase at the beginning of 2023. It is about an amendment to the Federal Highway Toll Act. The background is EU requirements and a new road cost report.

Müller said that the truck toll can now be adjusted in a timely manner. “We have eliminated the risk of missing the urgently needed toll revenue. It is important that we have agreed on a clear timetable for the implementation of the CO2 toll agreed in the coalition agreement and the inclusion of road freight transport from 3.5 tons. This also applies to the use of the additional income for mobility across all modes of transport.”

The truck toll was introduced in Germany in 2005 on the federal motorways and has since been extended to all federal roads. It generates billions in revenue.

Railway network criticizes

Criticism of the coalition agreement came from the European Railway Network, an association of competitors of the state-owned Deutsche Bahn. Spokesman Peter Westenberger said the traffic light once again continued the traffic policy of the previous government. Although the EU has expressly allowed since the beginning of the year to use the income from the environmental cost portion of the toll for more environmentally friendly means of transport, the additional income should continue to be used only to build new roads and subsidize trucks.

In their coalition agreement, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP had agreed to differentiate the truck toll in CO2 emissions in 2023, to include commercial road haulage from 3.5 tons and to introduce a CO2 surcharge – on condition that the CO2 price does not double the burden . The additional income should be used for mobility.