05 Jul 2023, 14:04
Sören Amelang

Germany’s railways to receive less than half of promised funds to modernise – report


Germany is set to spend less than half of the funds originally planned on the modernisation of its ailing railway system, report business daily Handelsblatt and other media outlets. Earlier this year the coalition government agreed to earmark 45 billion euros until 2027 to improve the railway network, which has become infamous for delays, but state-owned Deutsche Bahn will now only receive 19,2 billion euros, according to a draft of the government budget for next year. Trains are central to Germany’s plans to reduce transport emissions – passenger numbers are meant to double by 2030. A Deutsche Bahn manager called the cuts “a disaster,” reported Handelsblatt. “If the additional 45 billion do not materialise, it will be business as usual and the state of the infrastructure will deteriorate instead of improving.”

Deutsche Bahn had planned to spend 20 billion euros on renovating the busiest tracks from the ground up, 6 billion on network expansion and electrification, 6 billion on digitalisation, and 3 billion on modernizing railway stations, among other investments, the article said. Deutsche Bahn is now hoping to make up at least a part of the shortfall by accessing other national and European funds with the argument that using the train is a form of climate action. The country’s environment agency UBA said earlier this week that Germany could still achieve its 2030 climate targets if it expanded rail transport, among other requirements. The transport sector is often referred to as the “problem child” of the country’s energy transition, because emissions have remained stubbornly high, with many activists, experts, and even government advisors accusing the transport ministry led by Volker Wissing, a member of the pro-business FDP, of inaction.   

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