A good three weeks before the cheap 9-euro ticket expires, the federal and state governments are fighting over a possible follow-up offer for the cheap ticket. The financing of a connection solution is still particularly controversial.
Bavaria insists that the federal government alone bears the costs for the follow-up offer in local and regional transport. Other countries signaled their willingness to co-finance. Finance Minister Christian Lindner sees no scope for additional federal funds.
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Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told the German Press Agency on Saturday that “in this extraordinary situation, the federal government must ensure further relief for the citizens – and exclusively the federal government”. After all, the states have already paid for a number of federal relief measures, “although they have not initiated them”.
The chairwoman of the conference of transport ministers, Maike Schaefer (Greens), had previously stated that the federal states were prepared to co-finance a follow-up offer to the 9-euro ticket. However, a prerequisite for such a decision would be facts that Federal Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has so far failed to provide, said the Bremen mobility senator to the editorial network Germany (RND).
The limited 9-euro ticket was introduced by the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP to relieve people in Germany in view of rising prices.
It is valid from June to August on local and regional buses and trains and costs 9 euros per month. Even before the special ticket was launched, there was a dispute about the financing. Resistance came from Bavaria, among others, for a long time.
The federal government is financing the campaign with 2.5 billion euros to compensate for loss of income at transport companies – in addition to the regular 9.4 billion euros in “regionalization funds” this year, with which states and associations order transport services from providers.
In addition, there is another billion from another pot. The federal states are generally demanding more federal money for public transport.
Connection offers for the 9-euro tickets are being discussed in order to relieve passengers of energy costs and give them incentives to switch to public transport.
Among other things, there are suggestions for a 365-euro annual ticket and monthly tickets for 29, 49 or 69 euros.
Lindner made it clear in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday): “There are no funds available in the financial planning for a continuation of the 9-euro ticket.” Every euro would have to be mobilized elsewhere through cuts, said the FDP politician.
Wissing was recently open to a successor plan. According to his ministry, however, the willingness of the federal states to participate financially is a decisive factor.
North Rhine-Westphalian Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens) told the “Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung”. “We are ready to talk about the short-term extension and a permanent successor arrangement.”
Schaefer emphasized that “the federal states have already shown with the Corona rescue package that they are basically willing to participate substantially”.
The SPD parliamentary group insists that the federal states contribute to the costs. It must be clear that the federal government alone cannot take over the financing, said the deputy chairman of the parliamentary group, Detlef Müller, of the dpa.
“In addition, it must be ensured that the necessary stabilization of operations as a result of cost increases and the expansion of public transport services cannot be left behind,” said the politician.
In addition, a follow-up ticket should not replace existing cheaper social tickets. “To finance the federal share for a successor regulation, a reduction or reduction of climate-damaging subsidies in the field of road traffic is a viable way.”
The left wants to keep the 9-euro ticket running until the end of the year. “From 2023 one could switch to a one-euro ticket per day,” said party leader Martin Schirdewan of the “Rheinische Post” (Monday).
“Our strategic goal remains free local transport for all citizens.” Money for this can be collected in the short term through a so-called excess profit tax, which is aimed at companies’ profits that are considered excessive.
Lindner opposes the Greens’ proposal to abolish the flat-rate taxation of company cars in order to finance a successor to the 9-euro ticket. “It is already left-wing polemics to describe the flat-rate taxation of a company car as a privilege, because it is above all a tax simplification,” he told dpa.
The Greens’ idea would force millions of citizens to keep a logbook without the bottom line resulting in additional revenue for the state. Studies have shown that flat-rate taxation does not mean a tax advantage.