Austria asks EU court to nix autobahn tolls in Germany

Markets Associated Press

Austria is asking the European Court of Justice to declare planned highway tolls in Germany illegal, arguing that the charges discriminate based on nationality.

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Austrian Transport Minister Jorg Leichtfried turned to the court on Thursday. He called the levies "a foreigners' toll" that the European Commission approved with its eyes "firmly closed."

The autobahn tolls are to take effect in 2019. All motorists would have to pay, but German taxpayers could file for refunds.

Under the plan, highway tolls would vary according to a vehicle's size and engine type.

The European Commission rejected an earlier version of the toll scheme on the same grounds Austria is citing in its court challenge. The commission approved an amended version that was intended to address its concerns.