The states are still prepared to finance the expected additional costs for the Germany ticket in the coming year - the federal government is not yet prepared. The Transport Ministers' Conference (VMK) in Cologne ended on Thursday without an agreement on the matter.
The VMK chairman and North Rhine-Westphalia Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens) said after the discussions that there had been no immediate financial commitment from the federal government. The question should now be clarified at the level of the Prime Minister's Conference, i.e. between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the heads of government of the federal states.
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), who took part in the transport ministers' deliberations on Wednesday and Thursday in Cologne, emphasized on the sidelines of a visit to an ICE factory in Cologne following the conference: "We are acting completely in accordance with the contract here ." What his ministry has done so far in budgetary and financial matters corresponds exactly to the agreements that have been made with the states.
Wissing spoke of an excitement that didn't lead to anything further: "We have a ticket, we have an agreement, the agreement will be implemented. And if things change from the countries' perspective, then they have to clarify that." The federal and state governments will each contribute 1.5 billion euros in 2023 and 2024 to cover the costs of the Deutschlandticket. What is controversial, however, is additional money that is necessary due to increased costs for personnel and energy.
Krischer: It’s the federal government’s turn
Krischer expressed the expectation that the Chancellor and the heads of government will resolve the dispute at their upcoming conference on November 6th: "I think that makes it clear where the responsibility for the future now lies," he said. "We as states have done our homework. Now it is the federal government's turn to make the decisions." He emphasized that from the countries' perspective a decision must be made in the short term. Otherwise the transport companies would have no planning security, which would cause problems for the future of the ticket.
There was criticism of the federal government's actions from the Bundestag opposition. Union transport expert Ulrich Lange (CSU) accused Wissing of shirking responsibility: "First he imposed the implementation on the states and municipalities and now he is leaving them even more out in the cold when it comes to financing." The environmental organization Greenpeace spoke of yesterday's transport policy: "For Transport Minister Wissing it seems self-evident to invest billions in even more motorways, but he is not prepared to continue the unprecedented success of the Deutschlandticket for a fraction of such sums."
The conference of transport ministers with the federal government on Thursday also came to no conclusion regarding a possible nationwide semester ticket for students as part of the Germany ticket. Brandenburg's Transport Minister Guido Beermann (CDU) emphasized that the semester ticket was a wish of all 16 countries. But first there needs to be a long-term perspective for the Germany ticket.
The states saw progress in the scope for action for municipalities when designating 30 km/h zones. The Federal Ministry of Transport has announced that it will create more scope for decision-making when changing the road traffic regulations, including in playgrounds, busy routes to school or for short stretches of road. The countries welcomed this step, but called for even more flexibility. “The municipalities want to decide for themselves how they organize and direct their local traffic,” said Krischer.