What are some examples of project restrictions




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For the road mode of transport, only the federal motorways and federal trunk roads, but not state, district and municipal roads, are the responsibility of the federal government. However, the interfaces between the various road categories are often problematic in cities and regions. There are examples where a motorway is well developed in front of cities, but traffic jams regularly form at certain points inward into the city. In this case, the interface between the municipal road network and the infrastructure provided by the federal government is not adequately networked. The opposite is the case if a motorway going out of town is very weakly frequented. Here the actual traffic volume is below the forecast. However, this can also be attributed to an inadequate connection.

Overall, measured by the length of the route, less than a quarter of the roads used by regional traffic (federal trunk roads, state and district roads) are subject to federal building loads. The municipal roads, which are almost twice as long as all the roads used for regional traffic together, are not taken into account. However, more than a third of the total road traffic is performed on the federal trunk roads. The federal highways are intended to serve long-range traffic. However, no gradations are made from federal to state roads if the traffic focus shifts to the regional area.

In the case of waterways, the federal government is practically responsible for the entire inventory. For the railways of the federal railways - that is over 90% of the railways used for public transport - the federal government finances the construction, expansion and replacement investments in accordance with Section 8 of the Federal Railways Expansion Act. The consequence of this constellation of responsibilities is that even if the federal government - as announced in the coalition agreement - invests the same amount of money in the construction of railroads and roads, because of the different distribution in the transport budgets of the federal states and municipalities, it is still far more Money is spent on roads more than on rails.



The influence of user prices on transport demand is controversial. Will an increase in these prices lead to a decrease in traffic or a modal shift? Do price cuts work in the opposite direction?


The influence of the state on the prices in the transport goes beyond the price structure at the DB and the determination of the mineral oil tax. Rather, in the transport sector, too, the public sector has access to a whole range of taxes and charges on the one hand, and subsidies and tax exemptions on the other hand, as action parameters for influencing economic and social development. In Germany, the traffic-related government revenue includes not only the mineral oil tax, but also the motor vehicle tax, indirectly also parts of the value added tax and the newly introduced Eurovignette for trucks.Subsidies include the mineral oil tax exemption for air traffic and inland waterways, the reduced mineral oil tax rate for diesel, the sales

Tax exemption in international air traffic and the mileage allowance for the use of a car between home and work. For example, traffic route construction itself also has indirect control effects in terms of price policy, in that it leads to cost reductions through time savings.


From a business point of view, transport costs are of varying importance for companies in different industries. While this cost block makes up between 10 and 30% of the total costs in many industrial companies, it is considerably less important in most service areas. The BDI notes that in the last few decades, joint efforts by business and the transport industry have made it possible to reduce transport costs considerably. In the opinion of the association, it would be a mistake if these economic advances, which also have a positive ecological effect, were undone again by the government increasing the cost of goods transport.

But what are the consequences of higher transport prices? According to survey results by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), it is not to be expected that higher prices will dampen traffic growth. Rather, the level of transport prices has hardly any influence on the level of traffic. This is also due to the fact that the share of transport costs in the total costs is usually very low. For example, the sale of yoghurt from the Allgäu to North Rhine-Westphalia is hardly affected by the fact that the cost of transporting a yoghurt tub is doubled from 0.1 to 0.2 pfennigs.

In addition, it is hardly to be expected that strong increases in transport costs, which also noticeably increase the product price, can be politically implemented, because even with comparatively small price increases, the public protest is very great. In addition, it can be assumed that public campaigns to buy certain products - e.g. food - not from distant manufacturers but from the region, or clever marketing, have significantly more influence on their sales than state increases in the cost of transport. In this context, the existing interdependencies have not yet been sufficiently clarified. There is still no clear answer to the question of price elasticity in transport. There must be between short-term and long-term effects

can be distinguished. If price signals are short-lived, not much will change. Companies with their own fleet of vehicles will not change their procurement and sales strategies if, for example, the prices of rail versus road become cheaper for a year or two. But if the prices for energy or for the use of infrastructure are foreseeable and regularly increased over a longer period of time, then long-term, significantly higher elasticities apply, which, according to the estimates of transport scientists, sometimes reach three times the value of short-term elasticities. Then, however, changes in the company's investment area can also be expected (e.g. construction of a siding or downsizing of the vehicle fleet).

The Institute for Ecological Economic Research / Berlin emphasizes that transport prices definitely play an important role. For example, low freight costs encouraged nonsensical transport. The pressure of competition forces wholesalers to deliver even the smallest quantities to their customers. The transport costs are hardly able to prevent this because of their low level. In this situation, there is no need for customers to worry about bundled orders. If the transport costs were higher, economies of scale could be achieved with larger orders. Then a decline in transport operations would also be more likely. This would also reduce environmental pollution. There is also not necessarily an increase in total costs, because the increase in the cost of individual transport can be offset by cost savings through fewer trips.

However, transport costs are more important in the competition between modes of transport. In the last few decades, prices have been given more clearly in favor of truck traffic. While freight traffic on the road - also in the context of deregulation - has become significantly cheaper, rail has become more expensive. Car traffic is also doing well. In relation to the development of net wages, gasoline prices did not rise in real terms, but rather fell. Likewise, the road tax has not made driving more expensive. In contrast, the fare in local public transport is increasing year after year - and not just in nominal terms, but in real terms. The price is only one of the determining factors of the modal split. But the outlined price ratios are already an explanatory component for the observed traffic development with falling market shares of public transport and growing shares of private transport - both in freight and passenger transport. If countermeasures are to be taken here, it is not enough if the BVWP reallocates in favor of rail. Rather is after

According to the DIW, a reorganization of the framework conditions is necessary for a change in trend, which also includes a change in the use of price policy instruments.


The absolute and relative increase in the price of public transport occurred over decades with constant or falling real road costs. If you want to reverse this trend, you have to be prepared for long-term processes, according to the Wuppertal Institute. The structure of advantages that automobiles - cars and trucks - have grown into over the last 30 to 40 years can only be put into perspective again in an equally long period of time. The concept of the eco-tax tries to meet this with a long-term but predictable increase in energy costs, which is used to reduce the cost of labor. This strategy also favors public transport, because it is relatively expensive, not least because of its high personnel intensity. Its advantage of lower energy consumption per person or tonne-kilometer, on the other hand, can hardly be effective due to the relatively low energy costs.

A look at Great Britain shows that such long-term concepts do not have to have negative effects on jobs either. There, petrol costs have increased significantly in recent years. However, this did not have any adverse effects on the flow of capital or the economy's propensity to invest. This shows that long-term, predictable price signals are accepted by the economy and can also be coped with, since the share of transport costs in the total costs is relatively low. From this perspective, an increase in the mineral oil tax in Germany also appears to be quite acceptable for the economy, especially since it is offset by lower wage costs.


The question of the extent to which traffic revenue should generally be used for budgetary tasks of the state or for a specific purpose is controversial. For example, the mineral oil tax used to be seen not as a tax, but as a kind of fee, the income of which was reinvested in the road infrastructure. This narrow earmarking has been abandoned. Meanwhile z. B. 20 pfennigs for every liter of fuel in public transport. This is also supported by the VDA, because here the income from road traffic serves the necessary improvement of the

integrated transport system. Accordingly, the association advocates a self-financing mechanism for the entire transport sector, which prevents income from being completely detached from transport expenditure.

The UBA takes a different view by fundamentally questioning the earmarking of state revenues and pointing out that taxes should also steer, i.e., through tax burdens or reliefs, undesired political processes should be hindered and desired developments supported. So z. B. the mineral oil tax exemption for air traffic is used explicitly to promote this mode of transport. Even if income generation is predominantly in the foreground of the survey for taxes, fees and charges, a steering function is in fact always exercised at the same time.



While it is clear that tax revenues are generally not collected for a specific purpose, and that the revenues from mineral oil and vehicle taxes do not necessarily have to be invested in full in traffic in general or only in the road, the question is controversial the extent to which the expenditure in the transport sector is covered by income.


For economic reasons, DB Netz is dependent on offsetting the costs of maintaining the railways with income from the use of the transport routes. This has led DB to discipline its investment behavior, which also brings it into conflict situations with its owner: some investment projects that the federal government deems to be right are rejected by DB for economic reasons.

In contrast to this obligation to cover costs for the railways, federal trunk roads and federal waterways are made available by the federal government free of charge. In order to use the capacity, users do not have to pay any pro-rated charges. The consequence is that more and more roads are required because it is believed that the public sector is giving them away, so to speak. Even with the introduction of the Eurovignette for trucks, this situation has practically not changed. These

As an annual tax, the vignette has a similar effect to the vehicle tax: the payment is made at a flat rate, regardless of the use of the infrastructure. For economic reasons, every truck will try to drive as much as possible, because this way the cost of the vignette per km can be minimized. The railway, on the other hand, has to pay the fees for each route. The business incentives here are therefore to drive as little as possible. A distance-dependent road toll for trucks announced by the Federal Transport Minister for 2003 would ensure more equal treatment, at least in the area of ​​freight transport. For cars, however, according to the BMVBW, road pricing is not planned for the foreseeable future.


Federal transport routes are financed from funds from the federal budget. The federal trunk roads and federal waterways are usually fully financed by the federal government. The federal government assumes the investments in the railways of its railways on the basis of the Railways Expansion Act. The federal government grants non-repayable building cost subsidies for the projects in the rail requirements plan, which are primarily in the general economic interest. The federal government provides repayable interest-free loans for investments in the existing network where the commercial interests of the federal railways predominate. DB AG / DB Netz AG makes an appropriate contribution to this. In addition, the federal government provides grants for building costs in accordance with the DB Founding Act to reduce investment burdens in the area of ​​the former Deutsche Reichsbahn special fund. In addition to the eligible costs, each project contains additional costs that are not eligible for funding, e.g. for additional demolition measures, for noise protection extensions granted in the plan approval procedure, for earthwork renovation, superstructure renewal below 1,000 m in length, etc. These costs are to be borne by DB Netz's own resources.

To implement the expansion, the BMVBW draws up five-year plans based on the requirement plans for road and rail. Large projects sometimes extend over a number of construction phases and considerable periods of time. Due to legal, structural or financial changes, adjustments are often required. The federal government, the federal states involved and DB Netz coordinate this on an ongoing basis. The framework data for implementation are summarized in the currently still valid five-year rail plan for 1998 to 2002.

Tab. 1: Federal government investment in transport routes

Figures in million DM

In the current five-year plan, around DM 27 billion is currently being invested in requirement plan projects as a construction cost subsidy, 11 billion of which are in upgraded and new routes and around 5 billion each for the German unity transport projects and the expansion of the Berlin hub. In addition, more than DM 15 billion are used to finance repayable interest-free loans from the federal government and DB's own funds for projects outside of the requirement plan, supplemented by further investments, e.g. within the framework of the GVFG or the Railway Crossing Act (EKrG). A total of DM 47 billion will be invested in the infrastructure between 1998 and 2002.


DB Netz criticizes the fact that, when deciding whether to include a measure in the rail infrastructure requirement plan, economic criteria are also taken into account, but ultimately the economic perspective based on long-term traffic forecasts and politically oriented development guidelines predominates. However, the actual traffic development often falls short of these expectations. With the requirement for the regular review of the requirement plan projects by the BMVBW, the legislature has therefore tried to absorb changes in the development, at least with regard to the quantity forecast. From the business point of view of DB, there are also discrepancies in this assessment in many cases.

The most flexible adjustment possible is of crucial importance for DB Netz for economic reasons. In practice, however, necessary corrections can only be made after long-term coordination and usually only by reallocating current measures of the five-year plan in the annual slices and almost never by adding new or deleting requirement plan projects - at most by means of their timeline.

effect - effect. In particular, the low flexibility proves to be problematic when expensive and long-lasting rail infrastructure is clearly being built past the market.

Therefore, DB Netz, together with the BMVBW and the Federal Railway Authority, tries to adapt the project goals of the demand plan to the current traffic development by taking into account what are known as optional later expansion stages - always with the BVWP as a goal.From the point of view of DB Netz, it is desirable to continuously compare the volume forecasts of the BVWP for the demand plan projects with the current company forecasts of DB Netz. For this purpose, project-related evaluating subnetwork investigations must also be carried out between the regular reviews. If relevant deviations are identified, the specific expansion goals and standards should be adjusted for the affected projects.

At present, a gentler type of adjustment is being practiced with readjustment via redistributions within the annual rates. However, this approach not only leads to planning uncertainty, new, costly variant investigations, difficult coordination and time delays for all parties involved. When reaching a consensus, the result is mostly project extensions rather than project restrictions. As a result of this, the five-year plan is in danger of creeping out of control and thus of underfunding, depending on the system.

The time-consuming coordination processes can also give rise to the problem that DB Netz does not achieve the planned outflow of funds for the financial year towards the owner. This situation also arises if the calculated costs are significantly below the calculated costs due to favorable construction prices. For example, the actual outflow of funds from the federal government in 1996 was 6% and in 1997 even 18% below the amounts provided in the federal budget.

In general, DB Netz calls for only those project installments to be included in the five-year plans whose financing can be secured. The defined measures should then be carried out as concentrated as possible and unchanged. DB Netz advocates including more titles in the plans in a more generalized form, e.g. in the form of collective projects for comprehensive modernizations that enable project-specific adjustments without lengthy coordination processes.


According to the Karlsruhe economist Rothengatter, a cost calculation carried out by the DIW for the road infrastructure comes to the conclusion that road freight transport does not cover its travel costs. The cost recovery rate is around 80%. A return on the capital employed with a very low interest rate of 2.5% was taken into account. If one assumes a three or four times higher interest rate, which is usual in the economy, the road freight transport would come to about 50% cost recovery and thus reach the value valid for the railroad.

The VDA, on the other hand, refers to different calculations, which also result from the system developed by DIW. These showed that the road expenses attributable to road traffic were covered by the mineral oil tax, the motor vehicle tax and the truck toll. The UBA denies this information and emphasizes that the external costs are only insufficiently taken into account when covering costs. The external costs include, above all, the environmental damage caused by exhaust gases - i.e. climate change and forest damage - the destruction of natural areas, health impairments e.g. due to carcinogenic air pollutants, especially in urban areas, noise pollution and, in particular, the costs of traffic accidents. According to investigations by the UBA, these totaled at least DM 133 billion for road traffic in 1993; the actual value is even higher because not all external costs are included in the analysis.

The interpretations of the new DIW report on "Road costs and road cost coverage of the road and Rail transport in Germany in 1997 ", which was published on behalf of the Federal Association of Freight Transport, Logistics and Waste Management and the General German Automobile Club in January 2000. In the opinion of the client, the report shows that the German trucks cover more than 150% of the road costs they incur on the autobahn. For cars, the determined degree of cost recovery for all of the federal highways is even 350%. In contrast, train path revenues and mineral oil tax payments covered only 16% of the route costs of rail freight transport. The VCD assesses the situation differently. The aim of the DIW study is solely to prevent the long overdue distance-dependent truck road toll. Trucks caused eleven times as much damage to the environment and health as rail freight transport. Would this damage one

calculated, then road traffic would have to pay DM 61 billion more. The Deputy Chairman of the Transport Committee of the German Bundestag also criticized the fact that the report did not take into account external costs such as the consequences of accidents, environmental pollution and traffic jam costs.

What is certain is that trucks cause considerable air and noise pollution, that they make a major contribution to the consumption of the landscape and the greenhouse effect, that they are responsible for a lot of traffic jams, and that they are responsible for a significant part of the accident costs. In order to create true costs in transport, the freight forwarders would have to pay several additional marks per truck km - according to a report that the Karlsruhe economist Rothengatter prepared together with the Zurich INFRAS Institute for the international railway association.



Both road freight transport and motorized transport are relatively more damaging to the environment in terms of the quantities transported than barges and trains. With all modes of transport, there are still considerable technical possibilities for reducing emissions and resource consumption. VDA and DB AG refer to realizable and also planned technical improvement potentials for road and rail. There is also relevant scope for improving the ecological balance in inland shipping - for example, by replacing outdated diesel engines.

In this context, the Wuppertal Institute propagates the factor four concept, which includes doubled prosperity worldwide with halved resource consumption. On the way to more sustainability, technology could also play an essential role in traffic. The 3-liter car, for example, points in the right direction. In the case of cars in particular, which waste around 95% of the energy used when they are used, there is still serious potential for savings and starting points for improving ecological efficiency.

The VDA emphasizes that the automotive industry is already making considerable efforts to exploit this potential. According to the emission forecasts for 2010, it could be expected that at the end of this period cars and trucks will be competitive with the railways, also from an ecological point of view, thanks to improved vehicle technology

are. With the new limit value legislation for emissions, road traffic will make a significant contribution to alleviating the ecological situation in the coming decade.

One technical possibility for reducing environmental pollution is speed control in the vehicle sector. These can prevent driving faster than permitted and thus allow a speed limit to be enforced without police surveillance measures. Other intelligent applications of modern technology - e.g. the targeted use of telematics in traffic - can achieve economic and ecological advantages (e.g. through fuel savings). At the same time, they promise fewer accidents and thus also have a positive effect on the social component of traffic. By limiting the speed to the value that is optimal for the flow of traffic, it is also possible to use the capacity reserves contained in the existing road network. This reduces the need to build new roads. This is also to be seen as a success from an ecological perspective.

The railway points out that it is still the most environmentally friendly means of transport. By shifting from road to rail, the CO is reduced with every ton of transported goods2-Load by 16.6 kg per 100 km and with each person who changes from car to train by 10.4 kg per 100 km. This corresponds to a C02-80% reduction for freight traffic and 74% for passenger traffic.

In addition, there is still considerable room for improvement in the railways. In the last four years, the specific air emissions of locomotives and railcars have decreased by 10% carbon monoxide, 17% nitrogen oxides and 19% hydrocarbons, starting from the already relatively low level. Lighter and therefore more energy-saving vehicles could be used in local rail transport. The standards to be observed also play an important role here. There are a number of regulations and guidelines that hinder the construction or use of such vehicles with higher efficiency.

Ecological reserves do not only exist in the technical area, however. Relevant starting points are also the occupancy densities in passenger traffic and the degree of utilization in freight traffic. For example, each car is currently only occupied by an average of 1.4 people. If it is possible to increase this value, among other things by increasing the number of car pools, the CO will also be reduced2Emissions per person.

In terms of safety, despite various tragic accidents in recent times, Deutsche Bahn continues to perform favorably in a comparison of modes of transport. The accident rate, i.e. the number of accidents per million passenger kilometers, fell steadily from 0.02 to 0.012 between 1993 and 1998. So it has almost halved. In 1998 there were 756 so-called events out of 65.6 million train kilometers. Between 1993 and 1997, between 22 and 38 people were killed while traveling by train. The vast majority of accidents occurred while getting in and out of the vehicle. According to the DB, in no case were driving times exceeded, insufficient training or inadequate monitoring of the execution of duties as the cause.



One of the reasons for the unbroken trend towards trucks in long-distance freight transport is that, from a logistical point of view, it has clear performance advantages over rail transport. The VDA points out that the automotive industry in its production network does a lot just-in-time with the railroad. But the railways in Europe are hugely lagging behind in terms of deregulation compared to the roads. Adjustments to the market are absolutely necessary in trans-European rail transport. There is still great potential that has so far only been used insufficiently because national rail networks are not opened to the necessary extent, connections are missing and the technical compatibility leaves something to be desired. The UBA states that, in contrast to road traffic, where practically all details are harmonized across Europe, there are almost no international standards and there are no noise regulations for vehicles. However, several power systems and a large number of signal systems exist side by side. Coupling systems and track widths are not coordinated. In particular, the organization of connections is also inadequate.

So there is still a long way to go before integrated European rail traffic, and a great deal of political and technological clarification must be made before trains, for example from Spain, can travel according to the schedule through France to Germany. But this is more of a regulatory problem that needs to be resolved in Europe than a question of road construction. Both cross-border cooperation in one mode of transport and a more balanced relationship between the modes of transport in the transport system therefore do not only require a coordinated investment policy. The main starting points are

rather also in the area of ​​regulatory policy. In this context, the European Commission is promising improvement. For example, there is now a uniform signaling system for high-speed trains in Europe. It is necessary that such issued directives are also implemented in national law. Here, too, there are still deficits in some cases.

From the BDI's point of view, the services of the railway do not adequately meet the logistical requirements of the economy. Attractive and efficient system networks could not develop due to decades of competition protection at the European railway companies. Today the customer is no longer satisfied with the fact that one organizes a transport for him for a certain traffic connection, but he wants to have a comprehensive service. However, the railway was also brought behind by system disadvantages compared to road freight transport. The BDI therefore welcomes the rail reform as a step in the right direction. However, before the goal of a coordinated and competitive railway network that is linked with the other modes of transport to form an integrated system, a complex need for action has to be dealt with. The federal government has recognized this problem and is committed to improving the quality of rail transport. National monopolies are to be dismantled, and more competition must be created on the railways. This is a necessary condition for more creative services and the development of logistic chains in the railways.

The European Commission has also recognized the great need to reform high-quality rail services. After years of delays and failures, it is now increasingly committed to liberalization and deregulation in rail transport. Since the national railway companies have so far often limited themselves to their territory by virtue of tradition, cross-border traffic in particular should be promoted. In this context, the railway unions fear that the liberalization and the separation of the rail network and transport services will cause jobs to be cut.

The harmonization also raises the question of equality in terms of tax burdens and social regulations. For example, train drivers have different working conditions than truck drivers. The latter also help with loading and unloading as well as with additional logistical services. That makes truck traffic considerably cheaper. If this is to be transferred to the railways, then it must

the social conditions are taken over by road freight transport. However, that would also have security implications that are undesirable.

In road freight transport, liberalization began as early as 1985 - significantly earlier than in the case of rail - and it did so suddenly. The private companies immediately took up all the freedoms that were available to them. Cabotage and many other liberalization steps were anticipated by the market before the corresponding regulations came into force, because the haulage companies benefited from them. In the state railways sector, such improvements in competition were not recognized for a long time, and those involved assumed that they were operating in a safe environment. Changes in the system were primarily implemented in order to increase this security and to perfect the isolation from the outside. This strategy was a crucial fundamental mistake, which noticeably impaired the competitiveness of the railways in Europe.


© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | May 2001