photo: PxHere

“A bitter disappointment”: Austrian officials unimpressed by EU road toll proposals

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Austrian MEPs have criticised the EU’s plan to transition from time-based to distance-based charging, a move that the Commission says is aimed to reduce CO2 emissions.

As we reported last month, the EU plans to phase out “vignettes” (time-based road charging) across the core TEN-T network from 2029 for heavy-duty vehicles (trucks, lorries and buses) and instead will start applying tolls (distance-based charges).

However, member states will still be able to retain vignettes for a specific parts of this network, if they can prove that a new mode of charging would mean disproportionate costs relative to expected revenue – says the EU’s announcement.

The reaction in Austria has nonetheless been on the negative side according to a report by

One of those to speak out against the plan was Tyrol’s ÖVP traffic spokesperson Barbara Thaler. She said “We have to go back to the negotiating table for a better compromise in terms of environmental goals, true costs and shifting traffic to rail”. In her opinion, the current proposal is “half baked”.

SPÖ-EU delegation leader Andreas Schieder also criticized the changes, which the EU’s transport committee accepted with 28 to 21 votes: “The effects of ever-increasing truck traffic mean more noise, more traffic jams and bad air for the affected population every day.”

Austria’s Climate Protection Minister, Leonore Gewessler, isn’t a fan either. She called the changes a “bitter disappointment” and said that despite the proposal offering “minor improvements” it fails to solve the basic problem of giving relief to Tyrol residents “from noise, bad air and traffic jams”. Geswessler also called for the EU to “take into account the very special situation on the Brenner [pass].”

Tyrol’s governor, Günther Platter, joined in the criticism too, stating that he was “once again severely dissatisfied with the proposal for the Eurovignette” because it fails to bring “any relief, but intensifies the Tyrolean transit problem”. The governor then added that the proposal “contradicts the climate goals of the Commission President and torpedoes our efforts to transport goods by rail”.

Photo credit @ PxHere