Are Tyrol's road blocks justified?
Tyrol blocked certain rural roads around the autobahn that leads to Italy last weekend. Tyrolean Governor Günther Platter explained that the move was aimed at making things easier for the local population and guests in the province's villages. Bavaria's government reacted with anger and it was announced that the German transport ministry, which is led by politicians from the Bavarian CSU party, now plans to take Austria to court over the issue.
Rail transport is the solution
The real problem isn't the holidaymakers, Süddeutsche Zeitung points out:
“The goods traffic that goes on all year round is a far more significant factor. For some time now Tyrol has been hindering it by processing lorries in blocks on the border, which results in long queues and has provoked protests by Christian Social Union (CSU) transport politicians in Berlin and Munich. ... The solution can only lie in railway networks. When in ten years' time the Brenner Base Tunnel is completed Germany will still be a long way from having a functioning goods train line because the railway network and politicians have failed to react in time. Decisions should have been taken rather than appealing to the judges because of [Tyrol Governor] Platter's road blocks, as Bavaria's state premier is now doing. The former have just beat the CSU round the head with their very unfriendly road toll for foreigner drivers.”
The domestic market isn't a free travel ticket
Austria can afford to shut down overburdened roads because unlike Germany it is making massive investments in its infrastructure and railway network, argues Wiener Zeitung:
“This financial investment gives Austria the political right to at least demand adequate contributions from the states that generate the transit traffic. If necessary with acute sensitising measures such as road blocks and processing lorries in blocks. Under the condition that this is all in conformity with EU law. The domestic market doesn't automatically mean you get a free travel ticket. And if it is interpreted as such Europe has a far bigger problem than a few blocked roads in Tyrol's Inn and Wipp valleys.”