The high impact of road transport on the environment as well as the degradation of road infrastructure have a cost for society, but not everyone should pay for it, only those responsible. In fact, the users would also be the main beneficiaries, since the lack of proper maintenance leads to more accidents, pollution, noise, as well as more vehicle operating costs.
The current legislation that charges road users, the so-called Eurovignette, is outdated and only covers heavy goods vehicles. This is why S&Ds are pushing for a more efficient and fair system in which costs would be shared between different types of vehicles, and time-based user charges would be replaced with distance-based ones.
The S&D Group is strongly committed to clean and efficient transport as a crucial pillar for a sustainable society. Today the transport committee in the European Parliament backed the proposal of S&D MEP Christine Revault d’Allonnes, to amend the existing directive in order to better apply the ‘polluter pays’ and ‘user pays’ principles.
Christine Revault d’Allonnes said:
“The proposal is a turning point to achieve the White Transport paper’s objective to move towards the full application of ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles. It would phase out Eurovignettes for heavy vehicles by 2023 - one year earlier than the European Commission proposal - and by 2026 for light vehicles - two years earlier than the European Commission proposal.
“Moreover, from 2021 external cost charges* based on EURO standards will be mandatory for heavy vehicles on all European road networks. This is a strong message from the European Parliament to reduce emissions from the road transport sector.
“The proposal is ambitious and includes passenger cars, given that over 60% of road transport emissions originate from passenger cars. If we want to achieve our Paris Climate goals we must act on all fronts and incentives for clean vehicles.”
S&D spokesperson on transport, Ismail Ertug MEP, said:
“The proposal we put forward wants to earmark revenues to make sure that they are invested in keeping an up-to-date, safe road network and infrastructure (such as tunnels or bridges) in Europe. This will contribute to the safety of all travellers and to lower maintenance costs for vehicle owners.”
* Note to the editors
External-costs are the costs related to traffic-based air pollution and traffic-based noise pollution; without policy intervention, the so-called external costs are not taken into account in the calculation of road charges. External-cost charge means a charge levied for the purpose of recovering these costs.