The European Parliament’s revision of the Eurovignette Directive is an opportunity to establish a fair road user charging system, which guarantees a level playing field between different modes, and reinvests revenue in the sector to incentivise cleaner, more efficient road transport.
However IRU warns that revisions on road user charging legislation, which increase the tax burden for commercial transport services, will limit the industry’s capacity for investment into new innovations and measures to decarbonise transport. Road transport is part of the lifeblood of the European economy and single market as more than 70% of goods transported on land go by road. Road transport is a vital economic sector for Europe and any additional cost imposed will make the EU less competitive and directly impact employment.
Matthias Maedge, who is leading IRU’s activities in the EU says: “Commercial road transport is ready to step up, but the future revision of road user charging legislation should not result in an increase of the tax burden to bus, coach and truck operators. This would prevent the sector from investing in innovative, greener and smarter technologies.”
Road infrastructure charging is a key issue for the European commercial road transport sector as it has a direct economic impact on private businesses. In the existing Eurovignette framework, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) already cover more than 130% of their infrastructure and external costs via taxes, charges and duties. In the freight transport market, intermodal competition remains limited, as more than 75% of goods are transported by road on distances under 150 km, where there are no other viable transport alternatives.
The road transport industry has already heavily invested in innovative technologies and managed to lower its emissions by up to 98% in the last 20 years. For the passenger transport market, where competition between collective versus individual transport is very high, a more expensive bus and coach sector would only incentivise people to use private cars over collective transport, undermining the objective of the European Commission to promote bus and coach transport as a mean to decarbonise transport. Coaches are the cleanest, most energy efficient and climate-friendly transport alternative. More collective passenger transport by coach means less emissions and a more sustainable EU mobility.
 source: CE Delft, 2016
 sources: Öko-Institut, 2014, ADEME, 2016 and IFEU, 2017