13. November 2015

Federal parliament approves planning reserve for rail projects

Budget 2016: handbrake on outflow of funding finally resolved

From now on, construction can proceed quicker, made possible by a new planning reserve for the railway projects.

Berlin, November 2015. The German Pro-Rail Alliance has welcomed with delight the decision by the federal parliament’s budget committee to allow a planning reserve of around 100 million euros for rail construction and expansion projects from 2016. “The decision means politicians have finally removed an error in the system that regularly led to an imbalance in the funding of rail projects compared with the roads,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, on Friday in Berlin. “Whereas the highway network, which is administered by the state, already has a large number of fully planned construction projects in the drawer, Deutsche Bahn has suffered from what can only be called a ‘handbrake on planning’ ever since the railways were reformed. Luckily, this will improve under the new regulations.”

The Pro-Rail Alliance managing director said he was sure the process that has now been approved would alleviate the well-known problems with the outflow of funding. “The federal government’s decision now makes it possible to pre-finance the final planning phase of important projects, meaning Deutsche Bahn will be able to build up a reserve of projects that are fully planned. Up to now, the lack of a pool of rail projects that can be immediately realized meant that it could easily happen that the funding outflow was blocked,” said Flege. “Politicians have now addressed this unsatisfactory situation and made good on a promise set out in the government’s coalition agreement.” Flege referred to the rail sector’s catalogue of demands – „Fahrplan Zukunft“ (Timetable for the Future) – in which the Pro-Rail Alliance has for years called for the setting up of a pool of fully planned rail projects. “Now that this handbrake on planning has been removed, we reckon that network capacity will increase in the medium term,” said Flege. He also praised the budget committee’s decision, made in the same meeting, to improve noise protection along national rail lines, increasing funding for noise abatement measures from 130 to 150 million euros.