Today’s European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) vote on the Eurovignette Directive, relating to road user charging, favours an increase in fees for commercial road transport in order to push freight off the roads and onto other transport modes.
With more than 70% of goods transported on land going by road, the sector is part of the lifeblood of the European economy and single market. Any additional costs imposed will hurt investment into new technologies, making the EU less competitive and directly impacting employment.
Moreover, increasing road tolls and charges while investing in other modes of transport will not impact modal split as there are currently no economically viable transport alternatives for goods carried by road in the EU.
Measures proposed by TRAN include: mandatory charging for pollution and noise of HDVs and vans; accelerating the deployment of tolls; and setting minimum rather than maximum values for pollution, noise and congestion costs. Vital investment into the modernisation of the road transport sector is not sufficiently endorsed.
The conclusion of a report published last year by IRU is that road freight transport already pays its way. The only result of increasing prices for this transport activity will be to discourage investment into innovation.
Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, said: “We appreciate efforts to use the Eurovignette revision to address issues such as road infrastructure investments, including safe and secure parking areas and alternative-fuel infrastructure. What is missing is the backing for operators to invest in fleet renewal and opt for new technologies.”
Regarding passenger transport, while buses and coaches are key to solving congestion issues, they have been included in the same category as trucks. This decision will likely result in diminished – rather than enhanced –individual access to collective mobility.
Matthias Maedge concluded: “Today’s vote is disappointing. We hope that the EP Plenary and the Council will hear our concerns. The result today is that our industry has been asked to pay more, but the problems will remain.”