German state budget under strong criticism because of railway money

German state budget under strong criticism because of railway money
@Ingo Joseph

Nonprofit organization: railways are dramatically underfunded.

The non-profit Pro-Rail Alliance (in German Allianz pro Schiene) has sharply criticized the results of the budget committee meeting. "The 2022 federal budget is a bitter disappointment. The 'Deutschlandtakt' is in acute danger, electrification and the expansion of the rail network are stalling, and railway stations are dramatically underfunded," said Pro-Rail Alliance managing director Dirk Flege in Berlin.

(Deutschlandtakt, also known as Deutschland-Takt or D-Takt for short, refers to a concept of an integral interval timetable coordinated throughout Germany, with which a target timetable is drawn up for local and long-distance rail passenger transport and based on which new lines and other infrastructure measures are to be implemented. The target timetable provides for a half-hourly service on the most important long-distance connections. Wikipedia)

The budget committee of the German Bundestag decided last week to adopt the transport budget of the previous government almost unchanged. "With the budget, the Traffic Light Coalition (in German 'die Ampelkoalition', is a coalition government of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and Alliance 90/The Greens, Ed.) has not sent a signal of departure in terms of transport policy, but has opted for 'business as usual'. Neither is there the rail-before-road focus on investment in infrastructure announced in the coalition agreement nor is there a digitalization push," criticized the Pro-Rail Alliance, managing director.

Flege: "With this budget and the adopted medium-term planning, neither the doubling of passenger transport performance envisaged in the coalition agreement for 2030 nor the increase in the market share of the freight railways to 25 percent can be organized." Only "a small consolation" are the financial promises for the digitalization of the rail network in the budget years 2023 and 2024, which were increased by around 400 million euros in the adjustment meeting.

The Pro-Rail Alliance expects the Traffic Light Coalition to bring "the breakthrough for a strengthening of rail transport" in the 2023 federal budget. The cabinet already plans to vote on the draft in the summer. "The cuts to the 'Deutschlandtakt' and the new construction and expansion of the rail network must then be reversed and the investment budget for rail infrastructure increased by billions of euros, otherwise the transport turnaround will be canceled in this legislative period," says Pro-Rail Alliance Managing Director Dirk Flege.

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