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Leonid Bershidsky

Germany Needs to Keep its Autobahns Free

A court ruling has scuppered a plan to get foreigners to pay tolls while allowing Germans to drive free of charge.

Delays ahead.

Delays ahead.

Photographer: Rolf Schulten/Bloomberg

Germany’s famed autobahns have lost an important source of funding. Their new management hoped the money would help them to ease congestion and restore the roads to their former glory.

Historically free of charge, the highways are widely viewed as a symbol of freedom. The absence of speed limits on much of the country’s 13,000-kilometer network is part of the concept. So voters are vehemently opposed to the idea that the government should introduce tolls for passenger cars.