“Absolute mess”, “Victims of this questionable behavior are the passengers”, “Billion grave for all of Bavaria”: Bavaria’s traffic light opposition from the Greens, SPD and FDP is the state government because of the disaster at the second main line of the Munich S-Bahn sharply – and gives Prime Minister Markus Söder and Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (both CSU) a “last chance” to put all the facts on the table on October 10th. Then the transport committee of the state parliament, headed by Sebastian Körber (FDP), deals with the major project at a special session of parliament, which is taking longer and more and more expensive.
Committee chief Körber accuses Söder’s government of “deliberately withholding facts”. The FDP MP refers to a presentation by Deutsche Bahn (DB) from September 2020 that has only now become public. In it, the railway company, as the builder of the second main line, had calculated in detail for the Bavarian Ministry of Transport that the first trains would probably not be through the new tunnel until 2034 could roll. Six years later than originally planned. However, the 32-page paper was kept under lock and key. The three million people in the Munich area, who are supposed to get better local transport, didn’t know anything about it at the time.
It is an “absolute mess how the state government has dealt with its knowledge advantage here, has done nothing and potentially endangered billions of euros in taxpayers’ money,” says FDP man Körber. The Green MP Markus Büchler, transport expert for his parliamentary group, speaks of a “billion grave for the whole of Bavaria” since other rail projects in the Free State are now at risk due to a lack of money. And Florian von Brunn, faction and state leader of the SPD, sees the passengers as victims of the state government.
Brunn announces that he will speak to his parliamentary group about a committee of inquiry into the S-Bahn disaster. The Greens are already tending towards a U-committee, the FDP is still keeping a low profile. A U-committee is the strongest parliamentary control instrument. The government then has to submit all the files. Ministers and other stakeholders up to and including the head of government must testify as witnesses under a duty of truth. Greens, SPD and FDP can jointly push through a U-committee.
Nevertheless, there are also major differences of opinion in the opposition. The Greens are in favor of a temporary freeze on construction. SPD faction leader Brunn is more concerned with Prime Minister Söder. “Ending construction and filling in the construction site would cost billions,” Brunn believes. That’s what Söder said almost verbatim in the summer. “The SPD is clearly in favor of the second regular route,” announced Brunn. This is entirely in line with Brunn’s party colleague and Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter.
Reiter is reluctant to criticize the state government. Without Söder’s support and Bavaria’s money, the second main route would be obsolete. Reiter says he expects “in the interests of everyone who is urgently dependent on functioning local public transport” to provide the city with better information from the railways and the Free State – and he expects “immediate measures” from the railways and the Free State to already increase local transport capacities in Munich to be increased before completion of the second trunk line. The second main route is urgently needed. Reiter: “Therefore, stopping or discontinuing the project makes no sense at all.”