German Corona Stimulus Package Good for Rail

The German coalition government has agreed a coronavirus stimulus package that has been welcomed by rail advocacy groups.

There will be a one-off payment of 2.5 billion euros from the federal government to the ‘regionalisation fund’ – the pot of money the German government pays into and that is used by the devolved regional rail authorities to fund local passenger rail services.

Lübeck Station
Lübeck Station

This 2.5 billion euro figure will go a long way towards compensating local operators for their massive loss of income from ticket sales, compounded by the fact that they have kept a much greater number of services running than needed in order to make sufficient space available on board.

Ben Möbius, Director of VDB – the German Rail Industry Association, said:

“The stimulus package strengthens the rail sector in this crisis and in doing so creates the foundation for climate-friendly growth and sustainable mobility for the future.”

The VDB and Allianz pro Schiene now hope that these funds will be matched at state-level.

Compensation for municipalities to address losses of business tax revenue as a result of the crisis also creates more certainty of planning when it comes to local transport and infrastructure projects.

The stimulus package is also intended as an opportunity for modernisation. As a result, the federal government has brought forward its investment into digitalisation. This investment, which will have a positive effect on the rail industry as well, will allow for more capacity and efficiency with lower emissions.

Dirk Flege, Director, Allianz pro Schiene, said:

“The stimulus package is an important contribution to help rail, a climate-friendly mode of transport, and strengthening it for the future.”

However, the VDB and Allianz pro Schiene were critical as well. They did not welcome the subsidy for new lorries. They said the state should invest in multimodal logistics instead. It was wrong, they said, to invest solely in road transport.

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