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Coalition Committee March 2023 - The resolutions on mobility and transport

After around 30 hours of negotiations, the leaders of the traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP have agreed on a "modernization package for climate protection and planning acceleration". In addition to the prominent dispute about gas heating, it was also about concrete changes for road and rail. While the combustion engines can look forward to good future prospects, the trucks are the big losers in the new package.

Infrastructure projects

One focus of the measures adopted is the faster implementation of infrastructure projects where there is "overriding public interest". To this end, railway lines, bridge renovations and special road construction projects will be prioritized in the future and the planning procedures will be streamlined. The last aspect in particular was a contentious factor in the coalition for a long time.

In the first talks at the end of January, the coalition was still unable to agree on a common strategy. Green youth leader Timon Dzienus said at the time to the Watson news portal: "Anyone who wants to concrete the country with more motorways has not understood the seriousness of the climate crisis." Nevertheless, a compromise was reached and 144 road construction projects were defined. The decisive factor for this was also the majority of the population, which would welcome the construction of more motorways.

However, on the evening after the meeting, Vice-Chancellor Habeck emphasized that this does not include the construction of a new motorway, but rather concentrates on traffic jams and bottlenecks that severely affect the flow of traffic. A total of 100 kilometers of new motorway could still be created in this way. As a compromise, according to the new resolutions, these sections of the route should only be built in combination with solar systems. According to Habeck, this agreement is a "pragmatic solution".

Electromobility

In electromobility, the improvement of the charging station infrastructure is to be promoted in particular. To this end, every filling station should be obliged to have at least one fast charging point within the next five years. Operators of small petrol stations are exempt from this rule. The hoped-for increase in the attractiveness of e-vehicles is intended to support the traffic light government's goals of 15 million fully electric vehicles by 2030.

E-Fuels

In the past few weeks, a dispute about the use of climate-neutral artificial fuels based on electricity (e-fuels) has flared up at European level. While the EU wants to ban combustion engines completely from European roads after 2035, the federal government is relying on climate-neutral replacement drives for combustion engines - and got their way. Combustion engines will be allowed to continue driving with e-fuels after 2035. At federal level, the alternative fuel should prove itself in the future. To this end, the traffic light coalition wants to create short-term incentives for the production and use of e-fuels. Tax law will also be adjusted so that all CO₂-neutral vehicles are treated equally.

Train and truck toll

Deutsche Bahn is to receive further support of 45 billion euros by 2027. In addition to refurbishment and expansion of the network, this should also invest in rail freight transport and a market share of 25 percent should be achieved by 2030. A 33-page special report by the Federal Court of Auditors showed in mid-March that the money is more than necessary. The examiners pointed out the desolate state of Deutsche Bahn in clear terms and spoke of a "bottomless pit". The paper calculates that the outdated rail network will need to be renovated to the value of 89 billion euros.

The 45 billion that has now been decided will be able to close the first gaps, but they are not completely sufficient. At the same time, the financing of this sum has not yet been finally determined. A tightening of the truck toll is expected to generate annual income of up to 6 billion euros, 80% of which will be used for rail. However, that would generate a maximum of 20 billion by 2027 and leave a deficit of 25 billion.

The stricter truck toll will be introduced from 2024 and will be supplemented by a CO₂ component. This means that in future an additional 200 euros will be incurred for each tonne of CO₂ emitted. In contrast to previous measures, trucks weighing 3.5 tons or more will also be affected by this regulation. Emission-free trucks should be allowed to drive toll-free by the end of 2025.

Comprehensive assessment of climate targets

Another important decision of the traffic light: In the future, the achievement of climate targets will be measured across sectors and no longer individually. The Ministry of Transport in particular recently had problems complying with the requirements and reducing emissions and is now relieved by this change.

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