Road Infrastructure Cost Accounting in the EU Countries
LINK H, German Institute for Economic Research, Germany
The EU White Paper on transport infrastructure charging (EU-Commission, 1998) proposes to charge the users of transport infrastructure on the basis of social marginal costs. Implementing this pricing principle requires the clarification of various methodo
The EU White Paper on transport infrastructure charging (EU-Commission, 1998) proposes to charge the users of transport infrastructure on the basis of social marginal costs. Implementing this pricing principle requires the clarification of various methodological aspects of cost accounting and estimation in the fields of infrastructure costs, congestion costs, environmental costs and accident costs for all transport modes. Of particular importance in that context is to compare quantitatively the accounting and estimation methods applied in different European countries in order to gain information on the sensitive assumptions and parameters.
Both the methodological and the empirical situation of genuine road infrastructure cost accounting is insufficient. Actual cost calculations, e.g. capitalised expenditures as annual opportunity costs in the economic sense are lacking. To date, infrastructure cost and infrastructure cost-coverage calculations are only available for a few countries. The situation in the field of congestion costs and costs for accidents and environmental damages is even poorer than those for infrastructure in the narrow sense.
Against this background the European Commission has launched a study on road infrastructure costs for HGVs which was aimed at supporting the Commission by providing the necessary cost accounts. I The study was addressed to achieve three goals:
* Firstly, to create a theoretically adequate and practicable common methodology for the calculation of infrastructure costs including congestion costs, in particular for heavy goods vehicles (HGV).
* Secondly, to provide quantitative knowledge on road expenditures (investment, maintenance and operation), on the capital value of the road network and on average and marginal infrastructure costs. Furthermore, existing estimates of congestion costs of road transport were required. 2
* Thirdly, to derive policy recommendations regarding the implementation of the proposed methodology, data requirements and updating procedures.
This paper will start with reviewing the state of the art of infrastructure cost accounting in the ELI. It will then in chapter 3 discuss two selected methodological issues of road infrastructure cost accounting, the estimation of capital values and capital costs 3 and the allocation of costs to vehicle types.
Existing European methods for the valuation of capital costs and for the allocation procedures are quantitatively compared. Chapter 4 presents empirical results for average and marginal costs of road infrastructure per vehicle type in the EU countries and in Switzerland. Chapter 5 concludes and outlines further research needs.
Association for European Transport