A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective
Edited by Erik Verhoef, Michiel Bliemer, Linda Steg and Bert van Wee
Chapter 15: Transport Infrastructure Pricing: A European Perspective
Chris Nash1 15.1 INTRODUCTION It is now 10 years since the European Commission put forward proposals to base transport infrastructure pricing on sound economic principles including the internalization of externalities. In that time there has been much activity in terms of research, proposals and debate, but actual achievement in terms of pricing reform has been slow. The aim of this chapter is to give an overview of progress on European Union (EU) transport pricing policy, and of the research to which it has led. We shall concentrate on road and rail transport, as the modes on which legislative activity has centred. The next section outlines the development of the policy. We then consider current legislation on rail and road infrastructure charges. Following this, we discuss reasons for the lack of progress, before considering research on these issues, and ﬁnally reach our conclusions. 15.2 DEVELOPMENT OF EC POLICY European Commission policy is built on the principle of subsidiarity, which means broadly that issues should be left to the member states unless there is good reason for dealing with them at the European level. Thus, historically, the European interest in infrastructure charging has come from a wish to establish principles that avoid unfair competition. Unfair competition could arise in a number of ways: the most blatant form comprises charging transport operators diﬀerent amounts for use of the infrastructure according to where they are registered, and this has been a concern particularly in road haulage. More generally, a failure to charge appropriately...