25. September 2015

“Commuters now quickly need planning reliability”

Regional transport: government and states agree on funding

The funding of regional transport has been secured for the coming years.

Berlin, September 25, 2015. The German Pro-Rail Alliance has said it is relieved that the national government and the federal states agreed last night to increase the funding for public regional transport to eight billion euros from next year and to continue to increase funding by 1.8 percent in the following years. “If the arbitration committee can now quickly clarify the details then we can say that yesterday was a good day for all rail passengers in Germany,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, on Friday in Berlin. The national government and the federal states have been arguing for a year about the so-called regional funding, which has been provided to the federal states since 1996 to enable them to offer rapid transit S-Bahn and regional rail services. The national government is constitutionally obliged to provide regional funding to the states. Until yesterday’s agreement, the argument was about how much would be made available in the coming years. The minister presidents of the federal states and the national government met yesterday evening to discuss the influx of refugees and how to spread the financial burden of dealing with the crisis. After reaching agreement on helping the refugees, the German chancellor said that the arbitration process on funding for the regions had been more or less settled “in the course of the meeting”. The federal states had originally asked for 8.5 billion euros per year and an annual increase of two percent. This year, the national government is providing 7.4 billion euros in regional funding. “The Pro-Rail Alliance still believes that the 8.5 billion euros demanded by the federal states is appropriate. The fact that 500 million euros less has been agreed can already lead to cutbacks. What is now important however is to create planning reliability for the coming years as soon as possible,” said the Pro-Rail Alliance managing director. It is regrettable that 1.8 percent annual increase is too low. “This will not fund an increase of services for the expanding metropolitan regions.” In recent months, the national government attempted to define the funding for the regions as part of the overall restructuring of the financial relationship between the national government and the federal states.