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Germany unveils €50bn infrastructure plan

Roads, bridges and electric-vehicle charging infrastructure form part of what the German government says is its largest infrastructure budget to date.

The German government last week presented to the Bundestag a budget for infrastructure totalling a record €50 billion.

Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) Alexander Dobrindt said the department’s budget has been increased in 2017 to €26.8 billion, a 9.2 percent jump on 2016. He added that the state’s budget for infrastructure investments will rise to €13.7 billion in 2017 and €14.4 billion in 2018.

Yet Dobrindt stressed that the programme will primarily focus on building new roads and revamp the country’s bridges. To this end, the government said it is set to help finance the reconstruction of any bridge that receives a building permit.

Deutsche Bahn, the country’s national railway company, will also be set for a €2.4 billion capital increase from the government.

“We have decided the largest investment budget for the infrastructure that has ever existed,” Dobrindt said. “We are giving a clear financing perspective for infrastructure and are thus calling for a paradigm shift: we are not only building what is financially possible, but are also financing what is economically necessary. For the first time, billions are being invested in traffic routes and broadband expansion. In this way, we are making Germany fit for the future.”

Dobrindt also pledged €300 million to the development of electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. Following his address, car manufacturers BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche announced they would form a joint venture to help build up EV infrastructure towards mass-market adoption. They expect to make “substantial investments” through the platform and called for cooperation from regional partners.