31. October 2016

Federal Infrastructure Plan 2030 disadvantages rail projects

Associations demand cancellation of many road bypasses and the inclusion of rail projects

Friends of the Earth Germany and the German Pro-Rail Alliance have criticised the lack of provision for regional rail projects and alternatives to the roads in the Federal Infrastructure Plan 2030.

Berlin, October 31, 2016. Friends of the Earth Germany and the German Pro-Rail Alliance have criticised the lack of provision for regional rail projects and alternatives to the roads in the Federal Infrastructure Plan 2030. Instead, over 514 urban road bypasses with only local significance and costing 12.6 billion euros have been included. Many of these bypasses should be cancelled in favour of rail lines, and a programme for low impact cross-town links should also be set up, demanded the associations.

“A whole series of railway projects were rejected in early stages of the infrastructure planning because they were considered too local, although many measures have transregional significance,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance. For example, reconstructing the Karniner bridge would halve the journey time from Berlin to Usedom to two hours. In contrast, the federal government wants a 100 million euro bypass for Wolgast, including a new road bridge. The Federal Infrastructure Plan must include urban rail projects that would provide relief to towns and metropolitan areas. The only positive exception so far has been the 100 kilometre Rhine-Ruhr Express RRX. “Congestion cannot be combated simply by building ever more roads. We need integrated planning that includes all modes of transport,” said Flege. Paying for these projects out of the regional fund is not acceptable. “The government cannot just pass on responsibility for regional rail projects to the federal states,” continued Flege.

The chairman of the Friend of the Earth Germany, Hubert Weiger, pointed out that greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector have been rising for years. Against the background of European and international climate protection treaties, more transport has to be shifted onto the railways. The ‘Network Concept 2030’ for long-distance transport, contained in the legislation for the Federal Infrastructure Plan, is so far the only contribution to climate protection and offers the opportunity for shifting long-distance transport onto the railways. This must be complemented with regional rail projects.

“German and European legislation stipulates that multi modal alternatives must also be taken into account when planning road projects. To our knowledge, this has not happened for any of the almost 1,500 road projects. On the contrary, rail alternatives were rejected across the board,” said Weiger. Friends of the Earth proposed alternatives for, among others, the B10 Landau–Hinterweidenthal, the A98 Rheinfelden–Tiengen, the B26n Schweinfurt–Karlstadt, the A7-Ausbau Ulm–Memmingen and for ther A52 near Gladbeck. None of these were taken into consideration with the official verdict that “they were not relevant to the Federal Infrastructure Plan”. As an example, the Friends of the Earth chairman cited upgrades to the rail line from Münster to Bielefeld, which runs parallel to the B64 national road near Warendorf. This measure was rejected, even though only unguarded level crossings needed replacing. Instead, the controversial B64n with 3 bypasses is now classified as very urgent.

“Most urban bypasses are of mainly local significance and predominantly satisfy the interests of constituents,” said Weiger. “Local consultation with citizens and checking for alternatives has so far only happened with regards to railway projects. From the point of view of the associations, it would better if such procedures were also commonplace for road projects,” said the Friends of the Earth chairman.

Press contact: Barbara Mauersberg, press officer Allianz pro Schiene, tel. +49 (0)30 2 46 25 99-20, barbara.mauersberg@allianz-pro-schiene.de, www.allianz-pro-schiene.de or
Dr. Werner Reh, Friends of the Earth Germany transport expert, tel. +49 (0)30-27586-435, mobile: +49 (0)173-60716 01, Rüdiger Rosenthal, Friends of the Earth Germany press officer, tel. +49 (0)30 2 75 86-425/-464, mobile: +49 (0)1 71 / 8 31 10 51, presse@bund.net