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Traffic: “Traffic collapse”: Associations warn against highway savings plans

Traffic: “Traffic collapse”: Associations warn against highway savings plans
Traffic: “Traffic collapse”: Associations warn against highway savings plans

The government wants to make cuts to the Autobahn GmbH. Associations are raising the alarm about what the consequences are in their view.

Construction industry associations have warned of drastic consequences for motorists due to the federal government’s austerity plans for motorways.

One appeal states: “If the federal government does not allocate sufficient financial resources for federal highway construction in the current transport budget and medium-term financial planning, this would have fatal consequences – a traffic collapse is to be feared.” A negligent investment policy will lead to more bridges being closed and the road network continuing to deteriorate.

Tim-Oliver Müller, general manager of the German Construction Industry Association, told the German Press Agency in Berlin that Germany is heading for a massive problem in its road and bridge infrastructure. “With the planned cuts in the Autobahn GmbH budget of around 20 percent, over 100 construction projects across Germany, including extremely important bridge structures, would have to be postponed indefinitely,” he said. “We even assume that there may be no new tenders for bridge or maintenance projects and that some contracts will have to be terminated at great expense.”

According to reports, the financial resources for the federally owned Autobahn GmbH are to be cut by 20 percent to around five billion euros next year compared to previous planning. Negotiations on a draft budget for 2025 are still ongoing. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has set savings targets for departments.

“Emergency call” for bridge construction

In a statement by associations, it is said that over 4,000 bridges in the area of ​​motorways in Germany alone are currently in urgent need of repair or need to be rebuilt. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) announced two years ago that the federal government would carry out 400 bridge construction projects per year from 2026 at the latest, so that the repair backlog would be cleared within ten years. “Because the promise is unlikely to be kept, several leading associations are now making a joint emergency appeal to the federal government.”

In addition to the construction industry, the associations include the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Construction Companies, the Central Association of the German Construction Industry, the Logistics Association BGL and the ADAC.

The leading associations are demanding that additional investment funds of one billion per year must be made available in order to get the bridge modernization program up and running and to ensure the modernization of federal highways.

Short-time work in the construction industry?

With regard to the construction industry, it continues: “Companies have increased their capacities because they were confident that the orders announced by the federal government would come through.” Now, instead, construction companies are on hold, which is resulting in significant financial losses. “Short-time work, including in bridge construction, can no longer be ruled out.”

Union criticizes course

The deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group for transport, Ulrich Lange, called Wissing’s transport policy “a complete misguided journey”. The Autobahn GmbH is already underfinanced. “If it is denied further funds, important renovation and expansion projects cannot be implemented.”

Green Party transport politician Stefan Gelbhaar said that if savings have to be made, this will also affect the motorways. “However, it is important that the urgently needed renovations of the many dilapidated bridges are not put at risk.”

Source: Stern

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