Economic stimulus package: Scheuer announces investment needs for transport and 5G

To boost the economy, Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) plans to support rail transport, road construction and digital infrastructure with 28 billion euros. This emerges from a concept of his ministry with the title “Investment future mobility”, which is available to the German press agency. The newspapers of the Funke media group had previously reported on this (Saturday). Scheuer wants to bring the paper to the coalition committee on Tuesday.

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There, the leaders of the black and red government alliance want to advise on a multi-billion stimulus package that should get the German economy going again. A severe recession is expected as a result of the Corona crisis. The struggle for the distribution of the expected billion dollar aid is in full swing.

The paper from the Ministry of Transport plans to increase the federal digital fund by at least three billion euros and to advance the network expansion with the new ultra-fast 5G mobile radio standard with five billion euros. Scheuer intends to use rail as a means of transport with “targeted and fast-acting economic stimuli” totaling 2.6 billion euros. 2.5 billion euros are earmarked for road construction and 1.2 billion euros for shipping.

The promotion of alternative fuels and drives such as hydrogen, fuel cells and electric cars, as well as the necessary charging infrastructure, is expected to flow 1.9 billion euros. The “Clean Air Immediate Program” will be extended by five years. The ministry therefore plans to budget another 350 million euros.

The 2017 program, which aims to reduce diesel emissions, comprises a total of 1.5 billion euros in its current funding period. The carmakers have paid 250 million euros, the rest comes from the federal government. Funding is provided for digital systems for traffic management against traffic jams, the retrofitting of diesel buses or the purchase of electric buses.

“The funds available from the immediate program for the digitization of municipal transport companies (€ 650 million) will be fully tied up by the end of 2020. However, there is still a considerable need for investment,” says the Ministry of Transport paper. The billion-dollar emergency program struggled a year ago with start-up difficulties, and only a small part of the available money had been called up initially. The funding program is intended to help improve air quality in major German cities and avoid driving bans for certain car models if possible.

Scheuer also plans additional expenses for Deutsche Bahn, local public transport, air traffic control, regional airports and coach companies. Union leader Ralph Brinkhaus fundamentally campaigned for the planned stimulus package. “It is not about restoring the state of February 2020 and only maintaining existing structures. We must now set the course for the coming years,” said the CDU politician to the editorial network Germany (RND, Saturday). “Corona caused a terrible break. But this break is also an opportunity to push ahead with important tasks such as digitization.”

When asked whether there was a financial ceiling, Brinkhaus said: “Now we have to get the pandemic under control. We need money for that. A lot of money.” But he wants to work towards “that we will have a government debt ratio of less than 60 percent of GDP in the next ten years”.

The debt ratio is the ratio of debt to total nominal economic output. According to the Bundesbank, it had fallen below the 60 percent mark for the first time since 2002 in Germany last year. To finance the corona measures, the federal government is borrowing heavily this year.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr demanded a “big hit” from the federal government. This applies to relief as well as investments in education, digitization and infrastructure, Dürr told the German Press Agency. An internal paper from the finance department called Dürr a bitter disappointment. This is about help for families, municipalities and the economy. A one-time bonus of EUR 300 per child is proposed for child benefit to relieve families and strengthen purchasing power. The proposals are a smorgasbord of ineffective individual measures that cost a lot of money, said the FDP politician.

There was keen criticism from various sides about demands from the auto industry for a purchase premium for new cars. If the auto premium comes, it is “a prime example of how a lobby prevails in Germany,” said Carsten Linnemann, head of the CDU and CSU’s middle class and economic union, the world (Saturday.) Brinkhaus also opposed it – But the pressure from companies, unions and prime ministers is very high, he said.

Greenpeace traffic expert Tobias Austrup spoke of an economically nonsensical and environmentally harmful premium. Purchase awards are not listed in the Treasury’s internal paper. In addition to the manufacturers, these are also required by the states of Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, where the manufacturers BMW, VW and Daimler are based. You want a premium for modern gasoline and diesel cars too.


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