Dutch transport companies and employers organisations have reacted furiously to the cabinet’s plan to introduce road pricing for lorries a year ahead of private cars.
‘It is a bad for the economy and could risk the widespread support for the entire operation,’ a spokesman for the VNO-NCW employers organisation told the Financieele Dagblad.
On Friday the cabinet announced it had dropped plans to bring in pay-per-drive for all vehicles using the Amsterdam ring road, partly because of the cost of installing automatic tolls.
Instead, road pricing is to be introduced for the transport sector in 2011 and for private motorists between 2012 and 2016.
To compensate for the extra charges, road tax and new car sales tax – which currently generate some €6bn a year – will be reduced. Motorists who drive more than 18,000 a year are likely to be worse off under the new scheme, according to calculations by motoring organisations.
The road pricing system will use satellite technology to track every car on the Dutch roads. ‘By that time, who will not have a TomTom (satellite navigation system) in their car?’ transport minister Camiel Eurlings was reported as saying in the Volkskrant.
Drivers will be billed according to where they have travelled, whether it was during rush hour or not, and how environment-friendly their vehicle is. The privacy implications of such a detailed tracking system still need to be looked at, Eurlings said.
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