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Andreas Knorr/André Heinemann/Alexander Eisenkopf Germany s Autobahn Toll for Heavy Goods Vehicles after four Years: Experiences and Perspectives FÖV 53 Discussion Papers Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für

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Andreas Knorr/André Heinemann/Alexander Eisenkopf Germany s Autobahn Toll for Heavy Goods Vehicles after four Years: Experiences and Perspectives FÖV 53 Discussion Papers Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung Speyer 2009 Gefördert durch die Bundesrepublik Deutschland Nicht im Buchhandel erhältlich Schutzgebühr: 5,- Bezug: Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung Speyer Postfach Speyer ISSN X (Print) ISSN (Internet) Universitätsprofessor Dr. rer.pol. Andreas Knorr Ordentliches Mitglied des Deutschen Forschungsinstituts für öffentliche Verwaltung Speyer (Germany) Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbesondere nationale und internationale Wirtschaftspolitik an der Deutschen Hochschule für Verwaltungswissenschaften Speyer +49(0) Professor Dr. André W. Heinemann Juniorprofessor für bundesstaatliche und regionale Finanzbeziehungen an der University of Bremen +49(0) Universitätsprofessor Dr. rer.pol. Alexander Eisenkopf Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Allgemeine Betriebswirtschaftslehre & Mobility Management an der Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen +49(0) V Abstract On January 1st, 2005, Germany introduced a road charging system for all heavy goods vehicles (HGV) using the country s Autobahn network (i.e. the country's main interstate highways). The introduction of this so-called Lkw-Maut (HGV toll) marked a watershed event in the history of Germany s transport policy as it represented the first ever deviation from the traditional approach of financing road infrastructures out of the general budget. In our paper we will first provide an overview of the current legal and institutional framework of the German Lkw-Maut regime. Then we will analyse its performance and shortcomings since its implementation in 2005, using a model which enhances the traditional theory of club goods by incorporating the relevance of the degree of rivalry for the efficient provision of road infrastructures. Key words: Electronic road pricing, congestion charging, infrastructure planning JEL codes: G 28, L91, L98 VI VII Contents I. Introduction... 1 II. Road infrastructure planning and financing in Germany... 1 a. The existing road network... 1 b. Road infrastructure planning and financing in Germany... 2 III. The Lkw-Maut: an overview... 4 a. Legal basis... 4 b. Technology... 5 c. Implementation (problems)... 8 d. Objectives... 8 e. The toll coverage and amount... 9 f. Traffic, financial and environmental results to date g. Utilization of the toll revenues IV. Analysis: how to increase the efficiency of the Lkw-Maut? a. Public goods, private goods, and mixed goods b. Implications: the case for a fourth toll dimension V. Should the Lkw-Maut be extended to passenger vehicles? VI. Conclusions References... 23 VIII 1 I. Introduction On January 1st, 2005, delayed by 3 years due to unexpected technical glitches (and trailing pioneer Singapore by 3 decades), Germany finally introduced a road charging system for all heavy goods vehicles (HGV) using the country s Autobahn network (i.e. the country's main interstate highways). This so-called Lkw-Maut (HGV toll) is based on the distance driven, the number of axles and the emission category of the vehicle; however, no congestion component exists. A watershed event in the history of Germany s transport policy, the introduction of the toll nevertheless represented the first ever deviation from the traditional approach of financing road infrastructures out of the general budget. Massive lobbying by the road haulers trade associations and the lobbies of all transport-intensive manufacturing industries, which cited concerns over the future competitiveness of the German trucking industry, as well as manufacturing, failed to stop the toll. In this paper we will first provide an overview of the current legal and institutional framework of the German Lkw-Maut regime. Then we will perform an in-depth analysis of its performance and shortcomings since its implementation in 2005 using a model which enhances the traditional theory of club goods by incorporating the relevance of the degree of rivalry for the efficient provision of road infrastructure. II. Road infrastructure planning and financing in Germany a. The existing road network After Russia, Germany is Europe s most populous state with a current population of 82.2m. At a surface area of 357,114 sq.km, this translates into an average population density of inhabitants/sq.km. However, in contrast to most other developed countries the population is very evenly distributed across the territory as a result of Germany s polycentric economic and political structure. Last not least, due to Germany s geographic location in the very heart of the European Un- 2 ion it borders on nine countries 1 almost all of Europe s most important East-West and many key North-South transit routes run across the country. Especially after the European Union s Eastern enlargement on May 1 st, 2004, these vital transport arteries have seen a dramatic rise in the number of users. Currently, Germany s non-local road network has a total length of 231,359 kilometers. The Autobahn network which handles about one third of all traffic comprises 12,531 kilometers, with six or more lanes available on around 3,000 kilometers. In addition, 40,711 kilometers of Bundesstrassen (Federal trunk roads) link all major and most minor municipalities of the country. The remainder are state roads (86,597 kilometers) and county roads (91,520 kilometers) (Statistisches Bundesamt (2008, 427). However, the quality of the road infrastructure has sharply deteriorated over the past three decades, especially in former West Germany, due to the lack of sufficient public funding after reunification (a substantial amount of the budget was redeployed to and invested in former East Germany). The most visible indicator for this negative trend is the sizeable decline of the modernity level of roads and bridges from 85 per cent in 1970 to a mere 67 per cent in 2004 (Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung Managerkreis 2006, 2; Wirtschaftsrat 2000). b. Road infrastructure planning and financing in Germany Regarding its political and administrative system, Germany is not a unitary state but a highly decentralized political entity. In short, the country is organized into three layers of government: the Federal level, the 16 Länder (states) and the 12,263 local municipalities, only 2,074 of which are cities (Statistisches Bundesamt 2008, 427). Only in a few fields have policy competences been exclusively assigned to a specific level of government. By contrast, it is estimated that around 70 per cent of all legislation must be jointly passed by the Bundestag the German parliament (roughly equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council, roughly equivalent to the U.S. Senate). 1 Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. 3 Transport infrastructure policy is a case in point (Institut für Mobilitätsforschung 2007, 84ff.). According to article 90 (1) of the German Constitution, the Federal government is the legal owner of all Federal (trunk) roads, i.e. of Autobahnen and Bundesstrassen. However, their administration including the competence for planning and completion, rests with the respective state governments by proxy. Moreover, the Länder exert substantial influence throughout the entire the planning process concerning Federal road projects (and all other Federal transport infrastructures as well). Formally, the responsibility for transport infrastructure planning at the Federal level resides with the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS; Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs). Since the 1970ies, the Bundesverkehrswegeplan (Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan) has provided a ranking of all Federal transport infrastructure projects, based on a thorough cost-benefit analysis (complemented by an environmental impact assessment and an assessment of potential regional development effects); it has been updated at irregular intervals and on average less than once in a decade. As a rule of thumb only projects with an expected benefit-cost ration 3.0 will be realized. More often than not, however, it is the state governments which propose specific infrastructure projects for evaluation and inclusion in the Bundesverkehrswegeplan. Their motivation is not exclusively the desire to eliminate existing regional infrastructure bottlenecks. Rather, the successful lobbying for the inclusion of a proposed road project into the Bundesverkehrswegeplan does also shift the financing burden from the Länder budget to the Federal government, allowing the Länder effectively to ride free on the Federal budget. Before the introduction of the Lkw-Maut for the Autobahn network in 2005, all road infrastructure projects in Germany were financed through a mix of general and, though to a much lesser degree, road transport-specific tax revenues, in particular the vehicle tax 2 and the gasoline tax 3. Inevitably, this arrangement produced a major inefficiency: All traffic by foreign-registered vehicles as for trucks, this means a 34.6 per cent share in terms of all mileage (Bundesamt für den Güterverkehr 2009a) which did not refuel in Germany effectively was not subject to any form of road user charge and effectively 2 Which is based on a vehicle s motor size measured by the cubic capacity and emission class. 3 Which amounts to roughly 75 per cent of the per liter gasoline price. 4 enjoyed a free ride. Protests from Germany s road haulage firms prompted the government to seek a remedy at the EU level in order to create a more level playing field. The result was the first ever HGV toll system in Germany: a simple time-based levy designated as the socalled Eurovignette a simple decal to be stuck to the inside of a truck s windscreen which was jointly introduced by Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark and Sweden in Finally, on January 1 st, 2005, a selective electronic HGV toll system, the Lkw-Maut, was introduced. It subjects all heavy trucks with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 12 tons which travel on any Autobahn or one of three highly congested, parallel running Bundesstrassen to a road user charge. III. The Lkw-Maut: an overview a. Legal basis The first legal attempt to introduce a user charge for trucks was made in 1990 by German government. However, the charge had to be abolished only a few weeks later as it was not compatible with EC laws. In 1994, The German government passed the FernstraßenbauprivatfinanzierungsGesetz (FStrPrivFinG) the Private Financing of Highway Construction Act of 1994 which legalized road infrastructure PPPs in Germany for the first time ever (Beckers 2005). On October 25th, 1993, the European Community passed Council Directive 1993/89/EC, the so-called Eurovignette directive which created the legal framework for HGV tolls in the Community by specifying the conditions for the levying of tolls for road usage. It was later replaced by EC Directive 1999/62/EG. In particular, the directive stipulated that only HGV in excess of 12 tons could be subject to road user fees. Moreoever, it permitted member states to differentiate road user charges based on objective environmental criteria (Seidel/Schlag/ Wieland/ Schade/ Matthes 2004, 2). The directive was transformed into German law with the Autobahnmautgesetz (Motorway Toll Act) of Not only does this law specify which vehicle classes and roads are subject to the toll. It also authorizes the Federal government to pass specific regulations to implement the toll. These pieces of secondary law include 5 Verordnung zur Erhebung, zum Nachweis der ordnungsgemäßen Entrichtung und zur Erstattung der Maut (HGV Toll Regulation) which specifies some technicalities regarding the levying of the toll; the Mauthöheverordnung (Toll Level Regulation) which regulates the amount of the toll; and the Verordnung zur Ausdehnung der Mautpflicht auf bestimmte Abschnitte von Bundesstraßen (Tolling Extension Regulation) which extended the toll to some heavily travelled Bundesstrassen which were used by truckers to bypass the toll. The 2006 revision of Directive 1999/62/EG will substantially increase the scope of HGV toll systems in the European Union from 2010, by extending their coverage twofold. First, all trucks with a gross vehicles weight greater than 3.5 tons will be included. Second, a toll may be levied on all trunk and all parallel roads afterwards. Moreover, the revised directive requires the interoperability of all electronic toll systems in the EU. b. Technology Several alternative tolling systems are in use worldwide (Broaddus/ Gertz 2008): Vignettes, i.e. a time-based toll system which allows unlimited raod use for a certain period of time (usually 1 day, 1 month or 1 year). As proof of payment, usually a decal must be attached to the inside of the windshield. Toll plazas are used to levy a toll for the use of certain road segments. Some are based on simple manual payment through counters while more advanced systems make use of electronic tags and beacons to automatically bill registered users. In the latter case, cars need to be equipped with a electronic chipcards which communicate with Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology embedded in gantries. GPS, i.e. satellite-based technology permits to toll road users by the kilometer without impeding the free flow of cars. For the system to work all cars must be equipped with an on-board unit 6 (OBU) which ensures automatic log-on and communicates the itinerary and the due toll to the tolling agency for billing purposes. Technologically, the German Lkw-Maut is the world s only GPS-based system so far. It works as follows (Toll Collect 2009): For automatic log-on and billing, an OBU must be installed on the truck (while the OBU is provided free of charge from the toll operating company, it must be installed at the trucking companies expense). This, in turn, is only possible after the haulage company has registered itself plus all its trucks with Toll Collect, the private-sector company which was selected in a complicated and legally controversial public tender to operate the Lkw-Maut on behalf of the German government. Currently, a total of 938,000 vehicles, operated by 122,000 firms, are registered with Toll Collect (Toll Collect 2008). The installation of the OBUs may only be performed by specialist firms located both in Germany and some neighbouring countries which have obtained Toll Collect s authorization to do so. The OBUs use GPS technology to track the trucks movements on the toll roads. As a back-up solution for the unlikely event of a complete shutdown of the US-operated GPS system, they are also connected to the on-board odometer and tachograph. Finally, a wireless GSM link from the OBU which automatically calculated the toll due to Toll Collect is used to authorize payment. By September 2008, 640,414 OBUs had been installed, 59 per of which in Germany-registered trucks. (Springer 2008). Currently, around 90 per cent of the toll revenue is generated from OBU-equipped trucks (Toll Collect 2008). Alternatively, manual log-on options exist for vehicles without OBU. First, 3,500 terminals are available at petrol stations and rest areas all over Germany, most of which were set up close to border crossings. Moreover, prepayment via the internet is also offered. In both cases, the driver needs to enter vehicle, departure time, origin and destination information into the system which will then calculate the due toll based on the shortest possible route within the toll network. Table 1 below provides a graphic overview of the toll collection process. Finally, enforcement is secured through 300 toll checker gantries which are equipped with infrared detection devices as well as highresultion cameras to film the trucks licence plates plus 300 mobile patrol vehicles. The latter are manned with 540 staff from the Bundesamt für Güterverkehr (Federal Office of Freight) which have 7 police powers and perform on the spot checks on toll roads to verify if payment has been made and/or an OBU has been installed. The patrol vehicles are equipped with infrared short range DSRC devices which can be used for the monitoring of trucks in motion. Table 1: Toll collection Source: Toll Collect (2009). 8 c. Implementation (problems) The development of the Lkw-Maut began in 2002 with the objective getting the system in working order by August 31 st, However, the enourmous challenges of launching such a complex new technology, including the complicated selection process for the toll operating company, were greatly underrated by all parties involved in this largest of all public private partnerships in Germany s history (Fleischer/ Halbritter 2004): the German government and the winning bidders, a consortium of Daimler AG, Deutsche Telekom and Cofiroute S.A. (the leading French motorway operator). The toll system was installed and is run by Toll Collect Ltd., in which Daimler Financial Services AG and Deutsche Telekom AG each hold a 45 per cent share, while Cofiroute S.A. controls the remaining 10 per cent. The role of the public partner, the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung is to administer the contract (which consists of 17,000 pages) between the government and Toll Collect and to regulate the toll system, in particular the amount of the toll. After several postponements, the Lkw-Maut went online on January 1 st, 2005; however it was not until January 1 st, 2006, that the system become fully operational. Ever since it has operated very smoothly at a per cent reliability rate compared to the 99 per cent fixed as a requirement in the contract without any major techical glitches or service disruptions. However, as the German government had abolished the Eurovignette as of August 31 st, 2003, at least 3bn were lost in uncollected tolls as a result of the repeated delays, effectively giving trucking companies two years of free Autobahn use (abstracting, of course, from the vehicle tax and the gasoline tax). In autumn 2004, the Federal government sued the consortium for 3.5bn in punitive damages. A final court decision is not expected until 2010, while the legal fees for the government alone have so far reached 54m (Financial Times Deutschland 2009). d. Objectives With the introduction of the toll, the German government tried to achieve the following objectives (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung 2009): 9 To switch from a tax-based system of road infrastructure financing to a fee-based user pays system; in particular to charge the operators of HGVs a much higher portion of the far above average maintenance and operation costs caused by these vehicles compared to regular passenger cars; to secure funding for investment (maintenance and upgrading) of transport infrastructures including but not limited to road infrastructure; to create a fiscal incentive to use HGVs more efficiently (.i.e. to reduce the number of empty runs) and to switch freight to more environmentally friendly modes of transport such as the railroad and inland waterways as well; and to promote innovative technologies, i.e. to establish the Toll Collect consortium as a world market leader in electronic road pricing systems. e. The toll coverage and amount Article 1 of the Autobahnmautgesetz regulated that all freight carrying vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 12 tons which use any segment of German Autobahn network 4 as well as three parallel running Bundesstrassen are subject to the Lkw-Maut. However, a number of vehicle classes are fully exempt: Buses and coaches; government vehicles; military and police vehicles; fire service vehicles; civil defence and emergency vehicles; vehicles used by charitable organisation in disa
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