German states demand more federal support to make public transport fit for future
dpa / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany's states are demanding substantial support payments from the federal government to fund the expansion of public transport systems in a bid to reduce the transport sector's climate impact, news agency dpa writes in an article carried by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. At a national conference, transport ministers from Germany's 16 federal states agreed that annual payments for regional governments should be increased by an additional 1.5 billion euros annually from 2022-2030. Bremen's transport minister Maike Schaefer, who presided over the conference, said "a well-functioning and attractive" public transport system would be a core element in the transport transition for which the federal government must make adequate provisions. Federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer criticised states' demands, arguing that the federal government had already delivered as the climate package and the coronavirus recovery payments to the sector would already total almost nine billion euros until 2031.
The coronavirus pandemic has made many people more hesitant to use public transport and instead return to private cars, a trend that presents a problem for Germany’s energy transition, as emissions from the transport sector were already stubbornly high. Already before the pandemic, pressure to decarbonise the transport sector led to a range of proposals for public transport improvements, ranging from cheaper tickets and more trains to making it free of charge altogether, an idea that ultimately had been rejected due to high costs.