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road transport pays its way

New evidence reveals road transport more than pays its way

11 May 2017

Road transport is more than paying its way; that is the outcome from a new report published by IRU today. The report clearly shows that road transport operators are more than paying for the costs of infrastructure use and external factors such as emissions and noise.

The report, produced by environmental research agency CE Delft, provides evidence that the European road freight transport sector is paying 130% of its infrastructure, and external costs under the current legislative framework. This equates to EUR 24 billion per year. The CE Delft study looked at motorways and parallel roads, matching the scope of the European Commission legislation.

Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU said, “For too long road freight transport operators have been accused of not paying their way. We now have the clear facts that this is not the case. EU decision makers should focus on allowing us to maximise our efficiency, to reduce our environmental impact, and to encourage investments in the further greening of road transport, the lifeblood of Europe’s economy.”

Matthias Maedge added, “The road freight transport industry makes a huge, positive contribution to the European economy. Increasing the tax burden on road freight transport operators is an attack on Europe’s economic wellbeing. It reduces investment possibilities by operators in our low carbon future.”

As the European Commission readies its proposal for a revision of the road user charging legislation, IRU insists that it must not result in an increase in the tax burden on European hauliers. Revenues from road user charging should flow back to road transport, via incentives and benefits, to help the sector further decarbonise, as well as to fund infrastructure and environmental performance related road transport projects. IRU, again, strongly urges the European Commission to undertake a full scientific research study that provides a neutral, cross-modal analysis of how much is paid by each mode and for what.

The debate on road charging is questionable when some modes, such as rail, have safety clauses on infrastructure charging in the legislation covering their work. Such clauses must be abolished to ensure fair competition in the transport market.