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Germany gets behind Swiss road-to-rail-plans

The German transport minister, Reinhard Klimmt (pictured right), has expressed support for Swiss plans to transfer freight traffic from road to rail. He made the remarks following talks with his Swiss counterpart, Moritz Leuenberger (left), in Berlin.

The German transport minister, Reinhard Klimmt (pictured right), has expressed support for Swiss plans to transfer freight traffic from road to rail. He made the remarks following talks with his Swiss counterpart, Moritz Leuenberger (left), in Berlin.

Klimmt also told Leuenberger that Germany would follow Switzerland's lead in introducing a tax on heavy goods vehicles.

Under the German plan, trucks weighing more than 12 tonnes will pay a levy of DM0.25 per kilometre. However, this will not happen before 2003, unlike in Switzerland, where truckers will be levied from next year. Switzerland is hoping to open its new transalpine tunnels which will link the north to the south of the country, in 2006.

Klimmt also reassured Leuenberger that the upgraded Swiss transalpine rail-links would have connections into southern Germany by that time, and that it was sensible to get heavy goods vehicles onto the railtracks and off the roads before they entered Switzerland. However, he admitted that because of financial constraints work could not be started on the German side at the moment.

During the talks, Leuenberger showed his German counterpart a special meter that would calculate levies that heavy goods vehicles would have to pay.

Also discussed were protests from the German border town of Hohentengen about noise from Zurich Kloten airport especially at nights and weekends. The southern German authorities had complained about the level of noise as planes took off and landed over German airspace. A working group is to begin looking into the problem from the end of next month as no agreeement has been reached on the issue.

swissinfo with agencies


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