Transport ministry and Deutsche Bahn ink 86 billion euro investment contract
Clean Energy Wire
The German rail service Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the country's transport ministry (BMVI) have sealed a contract that will see investments in the state-owned company at a record 86 billion euros by 2030. "The 2020s will be a golden age for Deutsche Bahn," said transport minister Andreas Scheuer, calling the investments "the biggest modernisation programme that ever existed in Germany." The funds will be primarily used for updating grid infrastructure and train stations as well as gearing DB's power supply further towards renewables, the company said. Scheuer said a "strong railway" would lay the groundwork for "active climate protection in the transport sector." The government contributes 62 billion euros to the investment programme and DB another 24 billion, meaning that the company's annual budget available for replacements and maintenance increases by more than 50 percent compared to the last round of financing, said the ministry. DB said it plans to modernise about 2,000 kilometres of tracks every year and 2,000 railway bridges over the next decade.
The investments into DB were agreed upon in the framework of Germany's climate package in a bid to improve the country's lacklustre emissions reduction performance in the transport sector, which contrary to other sectors of the economy has not reduced its greenhouse gas output at all since 1990. In order to make train rides more attractive to customers, the government has also reduced taxes on train tickets and announced it would substantially increase funding of public transport services over the next decade. Deutsche Bahn said it would buy hundreds of new trains and also revive mothballed connections in a bid to lure and handle more passengers.