Taxation and infrastructure charging are important for maintaining and developing the trans-European infrastructure network. The EU has created a framework to encourage Member States to use taxation and infrastructure charging in the most effective and fair manner in order to promote the 'user pays' and ‘polluter pays’ principles, as enshrined in the treaties.
This framework contributes to the internalisation of external costs related to road transport, such as those generated by the use of infrastructure or its environmental and social impacts. With the internalisation of costs, the EU also wants to encourage a more efficient use of transport infrastructures currently affected by congestion, thus reducing time wasted due to bottlenecks.
Road charging can also be a useful instrument to generate new sources of revenue to help develop Europe's vital infrastructure, as well as cleaner, more energy-efficient modes of transport.
This section gives an overview of the different instruments at the disposal of the EU to promote these goals. These include vehicle and fuel taxation, road infrastructure charging, and the provision of financial aid to innovative projects such as those under the NICHES scheme.