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"The new German Coalition Government may be more willing to Invest in Infrastructure," suggests Lib Dem Councillor.

December 19, 2021 7:53 PM

"The new German Coalition Government may be more willing to invest in infrastructure," suggests Liberal Democrat Councillor for Tring West, Nick Hollinghurst. "If targeted towards rail and transport modernisation this could be a green boost, not only for Germany but also for neighbouring countries."

Deutsche Bahn (Deutsche Bahn)Germany's historic hyper-inflationary episodes left the country with cautious approach to public spending and, despite the financial ravages of covid-19, it has a healthy 7% positive balance on its current account. This compares very favourably with a positive 3.2% average for the whole Euro Area and with the UK's negative 2.9% balance.

On the other hand as a country where environmental concerns are very important, Germany needs to do a bit more to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions after Merkel's courageous decision to phase out nuclear power still left an uncomfortably high proportion of energy being generated by hard coal and brown coal. Though now on the wane once again, right-wing populism managed to put the brakes on onshore wind power development and, despite, a growing national enthusiasm for sustainability, this has meant a greater reliance on off-shore wind which, though more efficient and productive, is technically more difficult and slower to install and commission.

Night JetThis, however, still leaves great scope for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing efficiency by investing in a greener rail system and providing greater capacity for domestic and international railfreight.

With the mighty, sprawling DB network now looking in need of rejuvenation and rationalisation, investment in rail might be a more popular option than hitherto and would bring environmental benefits as well as both a domestic and Europe-wide economic boost.

This should appeal not only to the Social Democrats but also to the Greens with the Free Democrats perhaps appreciating the employment and business dividend that's likely to accrue.

DB ICE (Deutsche Bahn)Signs are that this might be likely. The previous government under Angela Merkel had already brought in a packet of tax and fare reduction measures to reduce domestic air travel and to encourage people to use trains rather than cars. Now a wide ranging package of investments and carbon taxing that was being proposed before the election may prove irresistible for the Red-Yellow-Green "traffic light coalition".

These include the rebuilding and improvement of key junctions, a new high-speed line from Ulm to Wendlingen and the quadrupling of the line from Karlsuhe to Switzerland and electrification of the line south from Ulm to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance.

We shall see. (pix by Deutsche Bahn)