Less money for local transport – politics

It should actually be days of good news for local transport. On Thursday, emissaries from federal and state governments negotiated how Germans can be lured into local transport in summer with the nine-euro ticket, an unprecedented discount campaign. Buses and trains should ultimately help solve the country’s enormous climate problems with strong passenger growth.

But there is currently no real spirit of optimism in the industry, which has been hit by the pandemic. Because behind the scenes in Germany, a heated argument about the financing of buses and trains has broken out among transport politicians.

According to information from Süddeutsche Zeitung the federal and state governments are fighting hard about the impending financial gaps in the system. In the ongoing negotiations, the federal states are demanding that the federal government pay a total of 5.6 billion euros to support and strengthen local public transport. But according to information from negotiating circles, the federal government is now only planning compensation payments of 3.7 billion euros.

However, this could exacerbate the financial situation of transport companies, which are supposed to expand their business, due to the pandemic, in the near future. The federal government wants to take over the total costs of the nine-euro ticket up to 2.5 billion euros. On the other hand, the federal government wants to reduce its share of the Corona rescue package from the planned 1.6 billion to 1.2 billion euros – with reference to the high expenses for the discount campaign. According to negotiating circles, further aid that is actually expected from the countries, for example for higher energy and fuel costs, has not been quantified.

It is said that Wissing cannot assert himself at Lindner

Apparently, Wissing could not enforce the additional requirement with Finance Minister Lindner, says an insider. However, this threatens local transport in Germany with even greater financial problems than it already has, it is said. “Companies get real existential fears.” The Federal Ministry of Transport initially did not comment on the information.

Within the traffic light parties, Wissing’s tough course is already triggering violent reactions. Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann (Greens) is upset. “The expansion of local public transport is a key element in achieving climate goals and thus mitigating the consequences of global warming,” says Hermann. “Anyone who now blocks the expansion of public transport through restrictive budgetary policy is preventing the turnaround in traffic and thus effective climate protection in transport.”

It is “incomprehensible” to him that Wissing is not fighting for more funding to expand public transport. A sufficiently large rescue parachute is vital for the plagued transport companies. The so-called regionalization funds urgently need to be increased in order to improve the offer. If that doesn’t happen, it’s also a “breach of the traffic light coalition agreement.”

The discussions could intensify in the next few days. At the beginning of May, the federal and state governments will meet for the next conference of transport ministers. An insider is convinced: “Then the federal states will certainly go to court with the Federal Minister of Transport.”