Noisy about more money for local transport and about the 9-euro ticket
From June 1st, the 9-euro monthly ticket will be valid for local public transport. The federal government wants to compensate for the loss of income. But there is a dispute about a financial package.
Between the federal and state governments, but also within the traffic light coalition, there is a fuss about more money for local transport – the funds are also planned for the implementation of the planned 9-euro monthly ticket.
From the ranks of the Greens came strong criticism of a draft law from the house of Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP). According to this, the federal government wants to increase funds for the federal states to finance local transport by 3.7 billion euros this year. This should also pay the costs for the 9-euro monthly ticket – from June to the end of August, passengers in local and regional transport should travel nationwide for 9 euros per month.
Countries demand more money
However, the federal government has not yet taken into account other financial demands from the federal states, as can be seen from a draft from the Ministry of Transport to amend the regionalization law. This was available to the German Press Agency. The countries are demanding more money. You must agree to the changes in the law.
According to the draft, 1.2 billion euros are planned to compensate for financial disadvantages caused by the pandemic. This is to ensure that the range of buses and trains can be maintained. The federal states had demanded 1.6 billion euros from the federal government for this rescue package.
According to the draft, there are also 2.5 billion euros for “further measures” including the implementation of the 9-euro monthly ticket. The cheap ticket causes a loss of income for transport companies.
As the dpa found out, the federal states want an additional sum of 1.5 billion euros from the federal government in order to be able to compensate for increased energy prices for transport companies. However, this money is not included in the federal draft.
“I am very surprised by the current draft bill for the regionalization law,” said Stefan Gelbhaar, spokesman for transport policy for the Greens parliamentary group, the dpa. The Ministry of Transport, the federal states and transport companies agreed that 2.5 billion euros had been estimated for the implementation of the “9-for-90 ticket”. “Now this sum is to be used not only for the implementation of the ticket but also for increased additional expenditure on energy and personnel. Consequently, insufficient funds would then be available for the implementation of the 9-for-90 ticket. That’s irritating because the bus and train companies would have to pay the additional costs.” This must be prevented. The Ministry of Transport and Finance must quickly ensure adequate funding.
Transport companies are suffering from the consequences of the pandemic
The Baden-Württemberg Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) told the dpa that it was “incomprehensible” to him that Wissing was not fighting for more funding to expand public transport. “The transport companies are still suffering massively from the economic consequences of the pandemic and the drastically reduced number of passengers. Many small and medium-sized bus companies have their backs against the wall financially. A sufficiently large rescue package is therefore urgently needed in the third year of the pandemic. The federal and state governments each bear half of the cost of the rescue package.” For a better offer in local public transport and in regional rail transport, the regionalization funds urgently need to be increased.
A timetable had been agreed in a federal and state working group on the 9-euro ticket: According to this, the Bundestag and Bundesrat should agree to the necessary legal changes on May 19th and 20th so that the 9-euro monthly ticket can start on June 1st can.
The question is whether the federal states in the Bundesrat would not agree to the regionalization law because of the dispute over higher funding – and would thus also block the cheap public transport ticket.
On the basis of the Regionalization Act, the federal government pays regionalization funds – this is money that the federal government makes available to the federal states every year to finance local rail passenger transport.
The federal government contributes half to the pandemic-related loss of income in public transport, the other half is borne by the federal states. According to the draft, the federal government had already made available additional regionalization funds of 3.5 billion euros in 2020 and 2021.