Financing still unclear: Successor to the nine-euro ticket probably from January

A follow-up regulation of the nine-euro ticket is to come on January 1st. The federal and state governments agree on this, said Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and Bremen’s Transport Minister Maike Schaefer (Greens) on Monday after the special conference of transport ministers from the federal and state governments. However, there are still arguments about the financing. A working group should find a solution by mid-October. Consumer advocates spoke of a “missed opportunity”.

Wissing said the number of nine-euro tickets sold and the “enthusiasm” of the citizens were a success. There will be a successor plan. He hopes that the working group will present a corresponding resolution by the regular conference of transport ministers in mid-October.

Wissing emphasized that the federal government had made an advance payment of 1.5 billion euros. At the beginning of September, the coalition committee announced that it would contribute 1.5 billion euros a year to a successor to the nine-euro ticket – if the federal states themselves contribute at least the same amount to the financing.

Schaefer said after the meeting that all states were ready to do this – but this was linked to an increase in the regionalization funds that the federal government transfers to the states annually for local public transport. The federal states are demanding an additional 1.65 billion euros for this and next year. They justify this with the consequences of the Corona crisis and the current burdens from high energy prices.

The Bremen senator emphasized that the goal was a 49-euro ticket. In times of skyrocketing energy prices, the ticket must bring relief. Baden-Württemberg Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) said the ticket had to be simple and inexpensive.

“Service car” is written on a Porsche 911 while a demonstrator with an oversized “9-euro ticket” stands next to it at a protest by the environmental protection organization Greenpeace in front of the FDP federal headquarters. According to information from Greenpeace, subsidizing a Porsche 911 as a company car costs the state as much money as the subsidy for 50 climate tickets for a maximum annual price of 365 euros.
© Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

The dispute will also concern the prime ministers at their conference with the government next week. “We expect that the regionalization funds will be a top issue that will be resolved,” said Hermann.

Wissing, on the other hand, referred to the debt brake – it was “the limit for political actions”. The 1.5 billion euros that the federal government is willing to make available “permanently” per year are a “fair offer”.

The federal government will pay the federal states almost 9.5 billion euros in regionalization funds for public transport this year. In the coming year it should be 9.75 billion euros, and then gradually more in the following years until the total of 11.05 billion euros is reached in 2030. The money for a follow-up ticket and the additional funds required by the countries would come on top of that.

The Federal Consumer Association (vzbv) criticized the fact that it had still not been possible to agree on a successor model that would provide relief and protect the climate. The vzbv demands a nationwide 29-euro ticket – with discounts for people on low incomes. At the same time, politicians must “take more money for a better infrastructure and more offers”.

Greenpeace argued similarly: The federal government is forcing the states to choose between a climate ticket and the necessary expansion of buses and trains, while the traffic turnaround needs both, the environmental protection organization explained. It advertises a 365-euro annual ticket.

The Association of Towns and Municipalities called on the federal and state governments to come to an agreement. “It makes little sense to continue to shift responsibilities back and forth,” said managing director Gerd Landsberg of the Funke newspapers. The most important thing is not the price of the ticket, but ensuring the efficiency of local transport. (AFP)

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