Transport policy

Affordable mobility

At the political and the social level, there is a broad consensus that in Germany, individual mobility is a fundamental prerequisite for personal freedom, job security and economic growth. As it is undisputed that between 70 and 80 % of the entire transport volume in Germany is transported by road, maintaining and improving the road infrastructure is incredibly important. This is not to say, however, that rail transport can be neglected.

The important thing is that mobility remains affordable for the people. This is why the VDIK has a tradition of lobbying against any efforts that jeopardize the preservation and promotion of affordable individual mobility. On the one hand, it is important to prevent any increases in the cost of mobility that are not based on compelling reasons. On the other hand, public subsidies should be implemented where political and social objectives, for instance those related to environmental protection, can otherwise not be reached at all or only with huge delays.

Specifically, the VDIK voices its opposition against the introduction of a passenger car toll, the extension of the truck toll to light commercial vehicles, or a general inclusion of all Federal and state roads in the truck toll. The same applies for any type of increase in fuel prices or other mobility costs not caused by production or distribution costs.

On the other hand, the VDIK is in favor of incentives for the exchange of old passenger cars and trucks for new, eco-friendlier and safer vehicles, and of promoting electric mobility through direct purchase incentives to offset the high initial cost of such vehicles. In order to meet the German government's target of having one million electric vehicles on Germany's roads by 2020, the VDIK proposes to extend the motor vehicle tax exemption to all vehicles with an external charging system (in particular, plug-in-hybrids and range extender vehicles) and fuel cell vehicles. Likewise, the VDIK is in favor of compensating fiscal disadvantages for vehicles with alternative engines (e.g. natural gas vehicles, fuel cell vehicles) in the taxation of company vehicles.

The Association is of course aware that the combination of increased investments in road infrastructure, the more incentives, and the German government's foregoing of additional toll revenues will ultimately cost the state money. The VDIK is, however, convinced that its proposals can be financed by redistributing funds within the federal budget in favor of the transport budget. The tax revenue from the realm of road transport, including mineral oil tax, sales tax on mineral oil, and truck toll, amounts to over EUR 50 billion. Yet, the federal, state and municipal governments invest only around EUR 19 billion into road transport, and thereof only EUR 5 billion in federal highways. Of course the VDIK is aware of the argument that taxes cannot be tied to a specific use, but by law must flow into the general budget. However, this would not prevent politicians from changing the allocation of tax revenue to the various budget titles and making it more fair. It is unacceptable that motorists are "the nation's cash cow". From the VDIK's point of view, the long-term goal therefore has to be that tax revenue related to road transport finances road transport infrastructure. At the same time, we must prevent politically motivated distortions of the true costs of road transport through dubious imputations of so-called "external costs" as long as road transport is then not also given credit for its special macro-economic benefits.

The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan, the continued development of the Transport Infrastructure Financing Company (Verkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesellschaft, VFIG) and the currently unprecedented investments by the Federal Government into federal highways, which are expected to further increase in the coming years, are steps in the right direction.