Transport: Railway wants to first renovate, then expand

Transport: Railway wants to first renovate, then expand

The turmoil surrounding the federal budget also caused concern for the railways. Because it quickly became clear that the federally owned company would receive less money than planned. Now the consequences are becoming clearer.

After the chaos surrounding the federal budget, Deutsche Bahn is receiving significantly less money than initially planned – it is now becoming clear where the federally owned company will make savings. According to a letter to the supervisory board, the new infrastructure company DB InfraGo has decided to initially tackle the renovation of the existing network. However, numerous modernization measures were put on hold as a priority. The letter was available to the German Press Agency. “Spiegel” had previously reported on it.

As a result of a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, the federal government had to plug billions in holes in the 2024 budget and in the climate and transformation fund. Due to the uncertainties in financing resulting from the verdict, short-term prioritization of the infrastructure measures was necessary, wrote the CEO of DB InfraGo, Philipp Nagl, in the letter to the supervisory board at the end of January. In accordance with the Federal Ministry of Transport, the DB has “determined a prioritization order with a focus on the existing network.”

Accordingly, for example, 773 million euros for a new freight transport corridor from Uelzen to Halle are currently not available. The traffic light coalition originally set itself the goal of shifting significantly more goods to rail. According to the letter, around 16 million euros for the digitalization of the S-Bahn in Hamburg are also not available. According to plans, a digital signal box should increase the capacity of the S-Bahn in the future. The relocation of the Fangschleuse train station in Brandenburg is also low on the priority list. The project should help to better connect the Tesla factory in Grünheide to freight traffic.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport emphasized that no individual projects could be deleted from the list. “We are fundamentally sticking to our new construction and expansion projects,” emphasized the railway. In view of the letter, there is at least the risk of a major postponement for all further projects. “As agreed with the federal government, the focus of the implementation is initially on the modernization and renewal of the existing network and on the projects that are already under construction,” the railway said.

Criticism came from Dirk Flege, managing director of Allianz Pro Schiene: “In view of the savings in the federal budget, it cannot be the case that there is now a lack of money for expansion projects that have long been believed to be safe,” Flege told the dpa. “The rail infrastructure needs reliable planning and financing perspectives.” Flege spoke out in favor of a multi-year infrastructure fund like in Switzerland.

“The federal government’s goals such as the relocation of rail freight traffic or the electrification of railway lines are at least in danger of being delayed,” warned Green Party politician Matthias Gastel. “In the next few months we have to clarify how necessary investments will be financed with long-term reliability. Otherwise there will be no change in terms of delays, inadequate rail services and the long queues of trucks on motorways.”

Source: Stern

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