While all drivers in Germany pay vehicle taxes to use the roads, cyclists can get around almost free of charge. Many people think it should be that way, but some politicians are calling on bike users to pay their share, in the form of a cycling tax badge (Thumbnail).
Germany plans to ask cyclists to contribute to infrastructure
After a party in Switzerland launched the idea of a “cycling tax badge”, the same system is now being offered in Germany. The plan would oblige all cyclists in the country to pay a small annual fee of around 20 euros as a contribution to the infrastructure they use.
The government is looking to massively promote cycling in the Federal Republic by investing in things like cycle paths, bicycle parking lots and e-bike charging stations. So far these costs have been borne centrally, but some feel that cyclists should be asked to contribute more.
According to a report published in the New Press, the city of Coburg in Bavaria recently proposed to introduce a tax badge for cyclists, at a cost of around 10 euros per year. Revenue from the badge should be invested in infrastructure projects like bike paths and bridges. The city council of the FDP declared this “proper cost sharing”.
Unsurprisingly, the cycling community responded negatively to the proposals, with the blog Radfahren.de writing: “The costs of constructing and maintaining the roads are significantly higher than the revenue collected from the drivers. The additional costs are therefore theoretically borne by everyone, including people without a car.
How will Germany pay for roads after the green revolution?
The question of how to maintain German roads as people gradually switch to electric vehicles and bicycles has been frequently raised in recent years. Since both modes of transportation are currently tax-exempt, a massive swing would leave the federal government with a huge hole in its budget.
Recently, a group of German researchers called for a new toll of 5.4 cents per kilometer to be levied on all vehicles traveling on German roads, arguing that this could be a way for the government to make up the shortfall. In addition to roads, the researchers argued that the money raised could be invested in infrastructure for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport.