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Russian Transport Ministry Needs $123M to Sustain Truck Tax

The Russian Transport Ministry has requested 7.9 billion rubles ($123 million) of government funding to sustain the controversial Platon truck taxation system, according to a draft bill posted on the government portal of draft regulations.

The funds are to be included in the 2016 budget and allocated as investment, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported Tuesday. Upon receipt of the funds, the ministry is to transfer the money to the Platon operator, RT-Invest Transport System.

Investment in the Platon system has already reached 30 billion rubles ($454 million), with 27 billion taken in credit from Gazprombank, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

The Platon truck tax has been operating in Russia since Nov. 15, and aims to collect money from drivers of trucks over 12 tons, as compensation for roadbed damage done by the heavy vehicles.

The introduction of Platon resulted in large scale protests staged by truck drivers around Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Transport Ministry agreed to reduce taxation tariffs and fines for failing to pay the tax, but truck drivers continue to demand that the Platon system be cancelled entirely and Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov be fired.

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