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Road Toll System Remains Under Fire Despite Ongoing Changes

2015.01.23.

From February on, the new county e-stickers will be valid until the first exit in the neighbouring county, saving drivers from having to pay the toll for both counties, state secretary János Fónagy announced. He also spoke about other changes as the government searching for ways to fine-tune the new county-based road toll system, introduced at the start of this year. Some stretches of motorway for instance, such as the bridges spanning the Danube and a section that runs to Liszt Ferenc International Airport from central Budapest, may be used free of charge. Families with four or more children as well as the physically disabled will be eligible for compensation for purchasing the e-stickers, János Fónagy said.

The Hungarian government also decided to scrap the administrative fee for motorists who use the motorway before purchasing a county e-sticker during a two-month grace period at the start of this year. The county e-sticker, valid for a full year, may be purchased for 5,000 forints (EUR 16). The e-sticker for the whole country may also still be purchased for periods of 10 days, one month or a year. The government expects the changes to the toll system to generate about 20 billion forints (EUR 63m) in additional budget revenue.

Despite the changes opposition parties still criticize the government over the new motorway toll system, saying the scheme should be scrapped altogether. The radical nationalist JOBBIK party said that levying a toll on bypasses had been “totally ill-considered”, and it called for the move to be reversed. The Socialist Party (MSZP) said it was keeping to a plan to hold a partial road block on January 30. József Tóbiás, the party’s leader, insisted that the government had succeeded in passing a single decision: it has made roads that became part of the toll system on 1st of January free of charge.

Green party LMP said that it continued to regard as unacceptable the government’s handling of the introduction of the road fee, which it called superficial and conducted without professional consultations. Bernadett Szél, the party’s co-leader, said it was regrettable that the government had failed to draw the conclusion that it should ditch the measure altogether and apologise. Instead it was standing by its flawed policy, she added. The EGYÜTT (Together) party called for the previous state of affairs to be restored in their entirety.

via hungarymatters.hu photo: Attila Kovács – MTI