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Road construction: transport minister’s “ring-fenced funding”

Press release 18.12.2009

Road construction: transport minister’s “ring-fenced funding”

“This idea is almost incestuous”

aerial image of a motoway junktion

Going round in circles - the roads fund the roads


Berlin. The federal government’s plans to introduce a system to ring-fence funding for each mode of transport has been seriously called into question by the German Pro-Rail Alliance. “Transport policies that works according to the principle of ‘the roads provide funding for the roads’ is an example of innovative thinking that has put itself into an offside position,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance. He was referring to recent statements by the new federal transport minister from the conservative CSU who is proposing that funding for transport should be strictly ring-fenced within each mode. The new government had already suggested in its coalition agreement that income from the motorway charges on heavy goods vehicles should not be used generally for investments in the roads, the railways and waterways. The brief for the minister was to look into using the toll income exclusively for spending on the roads, particularly in view of the state’s empty coffers. “If politicians are serious about shifting transport away from the roads, they will have to make funding available for expanding the railways. Anything else is nonsense,” said Flege. “Instead, they are tying themselves up in knots voluntarily”.

For the Pro-Rail Alliance, the conservative-liberal ring-fencing approach to funding will nip any modernisation of the transport system in the bud. In view of the current EU debate on incorporating into the charges on HGVs the unpaid cost to the environment , ring-fenced funding “is an almost incestuous idea,” said Flege. He criticised the funding plans as unreasonable transport policy. A poor environmental record for the roads will lead to higher road charges and an increase in highway construction. “Asphalt breeds asphalt. If you follow this logic, the state would have to use the duty levied on tobacco to build as many cigarette vending machines as possible,” added Flege.


Allianz pro Schiene is the German alliance for the promotion of environmentally friendly and safe rail transport. It unites 16 non-profit organisations: the environmental organisations BUND, NABU, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and NaturFreunde Deutschlands; the consumer groups Pro Bahn, DBV and VCD; the automobile clubs ACE and ACV; the three rail unions TRANSNET, GDBA and GDL as well as the rail organisations BDEF, BF Bahnen, VBB and VDEI. Its member associations represent more than 2 million individual members. Allianz pro Schiene is supported by 93 companies operating in the rail sector.


Dr. Barbara Mauersberg
Press Officer

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