Austria’s truck toll ranks on top within the EU

Alexander Klacska calls for a reduction of truck toll tariffs by at least 25 per cent; Asfinag rejects allegation of surplus cover

Austria’s truck toll ranks on top within the EU

The toll on Austrian motorways and highways has been too high for years. This is the result of a study commissioned by the Federal Transport Division of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) together with the Association for the Freight Transport Industry and the AISÖ (Association of International Road Transport Entrepreneurs of Austria). The results were published on 4 May.

The study, a review of toll tariffs on Austrian motorways and highways, shows that since 2014 the toll revenues were far higher than the infrastructure costs. This is despite the fact that, according to the EU Road Charges Directive, tolls are to correspond to the infrastructure costs attributable to heavy traffic.

“In 2016, our calculations showed that the coverage was around 8 cents per kilometer driven. That means that if a truck drives around 10,000 miles per year, which is not much, it will pay over EUR 800 per year too much,” said Stephan Kritzinger, one of the study authors and managing directors of the Center for Integrated Transport Systems (ZIV) in Darmstadt. 

“Together, trucks and buses have paid more than EUR 800 million between 2008 and 2016 too much,” said Alexander Klacska, Chairman of the Federal Transport division in the WKÖ. As a result, tolls are an important location factor, which is getting out of control. Therefore, he calls for a gradual reduction of toll tariffs for trucks by at least 25 per cent; for buses, the toll should be 12 per cent lower than that.

Because, as predicted at a press conference: “If in Austria a transport starts in Ennstal, EUR 50 toll don’t even take it to the border, because EUR 50 in this country covers only 130 kilometers, while in Germany the same amount of money covers 370 kilometres.” Peter Tropper, Managing Director of the Association of Freight Transportation in the WKÖ, says the study “confirms the assumption that Austria has the highest toll within the EU.” 

A problem with the review of the Austrian toll tariffs is that the system is based on an outdated cost accounting dating back to the year 2000. “We urge the Ministry of Transport to commission a new infrastructure costing in this or next year at the latest,” says Alexander Klacska. Without such a costing, tolls should not be increased again. Rather, it is now time for a tariff reduction.

Asfinag makes it clear in a press release: “The toll tariffs are calculated on the basis of the legal requirements, in particular the EU Road Charging Directive and the Federal Road Toll Act.”

The ÖBB is encouraging to invest toll surpluses from the road in the expansion of the loading points of trucks to the railways and thus to make the transfer of freight transport from road to rail more attractive. That would make a meaningful contribution to the climate protection strategy of the Federal Government and would relieve the population of noise and emissions. As a pilot region for such projects, the Brenner Route in Tyrol is recommended.;;