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Where there’s a Way, there’s not necessarily a Will

Opinió | 19/02/2009

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The German länder, although they have considerable powers over infrastructures, demonstrate little will to apply them. In practice, the federal authority still has great influence on decision-making, due to a certain inertia and to the budgetary incentives that are offered.


The system for the distribution of powers in Germany leaves a by no means negligible power in the hands of the länder, the federal states, in transport policy planning. Even so, the regional governments do not use this power to apply differentiated principles in accordance with the characteristics of the area or the political tendency of the autonomous parliaments. This is argued by Oliver Schöller-Schwedes and Lisa Runhort, the authors of a report on regional transport policy in Germany delivered to www.idees.net.

The system of economic endowment of the projects, in which the Federal Government tends to finance the biggest works, has created habits in which the länder present initiatives which they believe will receive budgetary funding. There is thus often a certain mimicry in the projects, and little adaptation to real needs. This acts as a curb on the promotion of innovative mobility services. Little more than a year ago, the reform of the federal system improved the funding method. Many experts, however, see the improvements as insufficient and are demanding a deeper change of perspective, with more doses of decentralization and the inclusion of other non-govern

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