Ministers back harmonisation of road tolls

Transport Ministers expressed willingness to progress quickly on two key draft directives for the road sector in the EU – infrastructure charging and the interoperability of electronic toll collection systems.

On 5 December 2003, EU transport ministers agreed on the principle that quick progress was needed towards the establishment of an updated EU-wide framework on road transport charging.

However, various practical decisions still need to be made, including:

  • which roads will be covered by tolls;
  • which types of vehicle will be included;
  • the extent to which toll revenues could be used to finance infrastructures in other modes such as railways ('cross-funding').

Preliminary discussions in the EP transport committee focused on whether the system should only apply to (heavy) lorries or to passenger cars as well.

Ministers sided with the EP transport committee on the draft directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems. They agreed that Member States should be allowed to choose from a range of different systems: microwave technology, mobile communications using the GSM-GPRS standard or satellite based systems. The initial Commission's proposal had foreseen basing all electronic road toll systems in the EU on satellite tracking technology from 2012.

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