BERLIN, March 24 Germany's Bundestag, the lower
house of parliament, agreed on Friday to introduce a road toll
for cars registered abroad with prices linked to environmental
The German parliament originally approved a road charging
system in 2015 that would have hit only foreign drivers, but the
plan was kept on hold after the European Commission complained
it would have been discriminatory and so against EU rules
The Commission, however, cleared the way for the draft law
after some changes were made that would benefit foreigners on
short journeys and those driving more environmentally friendly
The toll faces another hurdle from Germany's states because
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has refused to accommodate
requests from the Bundesrat, the states' chamber, to make
exceptions to the toll for border areas.
While the law does not need to be approved by the Bundesrat,
the western border states Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate have
already said they will contact a mediation committee set up to
liaise between the two parliamentary chambers.
That could delay the law so that it is not implemented
before a Sept. 24 federal election.
The German government expects the toll - a pet project of
Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) party, of which Dobrindt
is a member - to generate around 500 million euros ($540
million) per year in revenues from foreigners.
Under the toll, cars that pollute less will pay a lower
rate. The maximum annual cost for a foreign vehicle would be 130
($1 = 0.9259 euros)
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Michelle Martin;
Editing by Toby Davis)