The grandiose plans of the red-green-red coalition for the traffic turnaround in Berlin are threatened with a severe setback due to a lack of funds.
What the SPD, the Greens and the Left have committed to in the coalition agreement cannot be financed with the funds currently provided for in the draft budget, is the unmistakable message that the government factions sent out on Wednesday during the budget consultation in the mobility committee.
“The blanket is too short in our bed, no matter where we move,” said Stephan Machulik, spokesman for transport policy for the SPD parliamentary group. “There is still a lot of money missing for our projects.” With the big vision of the traffic turnaround, it will be difficult in view of these conditions. The committee chairman Kristian Ronneburg (left) also sees “need for action” in the budget for the mobility sector. Among other things, the major project to expand the S-Bahn and regional rail network i2030 must be fully funded.
As reported, funds in the tens of millions are missing according to the previous plans by 2023 to advance the planning of the routes as planned. It is now also clear which projects would be affected by the savings: the reconstruction of the Potsdam main line, the Prignitzexpress from Schönholz to Velten and the expansion of the S-Bahn network, including the extension of the S75 from Wartenberg to the Sellheimbrücke, would, according to the current status, be included in the budget consolidation Victims fall, said the Senate Transport Administration in a letter to the main committee. They could “only be financed to a reduced extent and later than planned”.
Greens traffic expert Alexander Kaas Elias nevertheless saw in the budget draft of his party colleague and traffic senator Bettina Jarasch “steps achieved that are quite satisfactory”. Among other things, the local transport contracts are fully financed until 2025. The first clock compressions had already taken place.
What the red-green-red transport politicians didn’t manage to do in their search for money, the budgets should now fix – and they’ve apparently found what they’re looking for. According to coalition circles, it is being considered to cut capital for the development of the state’s own S-Bahn fleet and to use it elsewhere in the budget. This could free up up to 313 million euros for investments. At least 213 million are said to be reallocated.
CDU transport politician Oliver Friederici gave a mild verdict, referring to “positive aspects” in the budget, such as the planned expansion of park-and-ride facilities. At the same time, Friederici called for the planning funds for cost-benefit studies to be tripled in order to advance rail projects more quickly. The CDU also wanted a “fire brigade fund” for acute bridge renovations, but the application was rejected.
The FDP and AfD also welcomed more funds for investments in local transport, although both rejected the focus on the tram. Felix Reifschneider (FDP) would like to use additional money for foot traffic. Projects running so far have not been enough to quickly improve pedestrian traffic.