BFederal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) believes in a mobility offensive in local public transport and is also counting on the early introduction of the 49-euro ticket in spring. “This will be the largest public transport tariff reform in our country,” Wissing announced on Thursday evening at the 3rd mobility summit of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Berlin.
The so-called Deutschlandticket will give public transport a new boost and more passengers. The goal remains to be carrying twice as many passengers as today by 2030, said Wissing at the conference, which the FAZ is organizing together with the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), the ADAC, the Main Association of the German Construction Industry and the Initiative Deutschland mobil 2030 aligned.
According to Wissing, the great success of the 9-euro ticket in the summer, with 20 percent more guests, disproved the thesis that use would only increase after the offer had been expanded. Of course, the infrastructure had to be expanded, which above all meant that planning had to be accelerated. But now it is a matter of acting quickly, as the population wants the nationwide monthly ticket to continue. “The citizens are urgently waiting for the Germany ticket, we should not disappoint them.”
Not all cost questions have been answered
Wissing is therefore pushing for an introduction on March 1, 2023, i.e. in three months. “The countries don’t want it until April 1st, I think there’s more going on, we should be more ambitious and implement it faster.” The 9-euro ticket showed what speed is possible. Wissing considers the financing to be clarified after the federal-state conferences. Berlin bears half of the annual costs of 3 billion euros. “There is a unanimous decision by the Prime Ministers’ Conference, which finally regulates all financial questions.” This decision must now be quickly filled with life.
Uncertainties remain, however, about the distribution of additional costs, i.e. a potential obligation to make additional payments in the years 2023 and 2024. The federal states would like these burdens to be borne jointly as well. The Saarland Mobility Minister Petra Berg (SPD) said at the FAZ summit about a possible additional need: “For us as transport ministers of the federal states, it is only logical that if there is such an ‘X’, this X is also shared The government in Berlin apparently sees things differently, but the federal states did not accept this.
The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Transport, Oliver Krischer (Greens), added that at best it was about a default guarantee. In view of the other sums with which Berlin is juggling, they are “almost in the homeopathic area”. It is an indictment that the population gets the impression: “Now they have made the ticket, but now the financing is not clear again.” He would like clear answers from Wissing so that the project can be implemented.
Brandenburg’s Infrastructure Minister Guido Beermann (CDU) said that Wissing apparently had no mandate at the most recent conference of transport ministers to also participate in further costs. But that is essential, because the financing risk cannot be borne solely by the federal states and the transport companies. This uncertainty is holding up the introduction of the ticket. However, Wissing said at the FAZ conference that the way to the introduction of the 49-euro ticket was clear, for the financing beyond the 3 billion applies: “I’m sure if new challenges actually arise, then we will solve them together. “
As far as other support for public transport is concerned, Wissing pointed out that the federal government was increasing the regionalization funds as requested by the federal states. The infrastructure is also being expanded, with the federal budget for 2023 earmarking 19 billion euros for investments in roads, rail and waterways. The road is the most important mode of transport in Germany, 3.7 billion tons of goods are transported on it every year, ten times more than on the rails. There is enough money for the expansion, but the funds were not exhausted in 2021 because the building regulations did not meet the requirements.
Bridges can only be replaced more quickly if the same, now obsolete type from the 1960s or 1970s is rebuilt, which is absurd. Tim Lorenz, Vice President of the Main Association of the German Construction Industry, complained that the investment funds in the new federal budget did not take into account inflation in construction of 20 percent this year and 10 percent next year. “That means there will be a third less purchasing power available for investments.” Contrary to what Wissing claims, there is in fact no “investment ramp-up”.