If Hungary joins forces with Slovakia, it may be able to introduce a new electronic road toll system in time, since such a system is already in place in Slovakia. We fully support this great idea put forward by the Clean Air Action Group, a Hungarian environmental NGO. We would also add that the planned fees would have to be lowered to more realistic levels in order to realize this plan.
Another bridge to Slovakia? Source: pluska.sk
We hope there are no technical (or possibly political) barriers to realizing this idea, and that in this way the payments of ERTs would be made possible on time. (Just in time to avoid the ERT saga from becoming a long soap opera, of the less successful type…)
We have a further constructive suggestion to add to this idea. As we have previously written, in order for the system to fulfill its role, the road toll fees must be reduced to a more realistic level. First off, it is the fee for the largest trucks that seems too high: in Slovakia, a truck pays €0.2/km on motorways, whereas according to the Hungarian regulation, this would be €0.29/km here (85 Ft/km!), equivalent to 40% higher.
A lot of drivers would not pay such high fees:, if possible, they would avoid the country altogether. Many freight companies would surely lobby for subsidies or some form of compensation to make up for their losses. This would endanger the purpose of the entire system, while the budget revenues would be lower than planned.
It would be better to start off with plans for lower road tolls and revenues: the Slovak system could also serve as an example for this. And this could mean that the new electronic road-toll system could be implemented already in 2013, an important step on the road to fairer and greener burden-sharing.