Innovation forum for speeding up the planning process
Progressing transport projects more quickly
You have undoubtedly been annoyed at least once by the fact that the four-lane express road that you use every day on your way to work has been a narrow two-lane chokepoint for months. Compared with other European countries, Germany, as a transit country for international long-distance traffic, already has a dense and good network of roads, railways and waterways. However, the planning and approval of construction works for the maintenance and upgrading of existing transport infrastructure and the construction of new infrastructure often take too long in Germany compared with other countries. For this reason, the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt, has launched the "Innovation Forum for Speeding up the Planning Process". The objective is to progress more quickly the planning of infrastructure projects in Germany.
"Think tank" is working on solutions
What is the exact reason why planning in Germany takes so long compared with other countries? If, for instance, a bridge is to be replaced by a new structure at the same site, should it not be significantly easier to obtain approval than is the case when constructing a new road or line. The newly founded Innovation Forum sees itself as a think tank whose objective is to identify the causes of the long planning and approval times and present solutions. Two working groups, comprising experts from public authorities, academia, industry and trade associations, will develop specific proposals on how planning and approval procedures can be speeded up in the future. This is to involve optimizing administrative processes and nature conservation reviews. But they also believe that there is potential inherent in the digitalization of procedures.
Consolidating responsibilities for motorways in a "one stop shop"
In October 2016, the Federal Government and federal states reached agreement on a recast of the financial relations between the Federal Government and the federal states starting in 2020. This decision also involves a reform of the delegation of administrative powers, focusing on the federal motorways. Ownership of the motorways themselves is to remain in the hands of the Federal Government, as has been the case hitherto. The objective is to create a federal infrastructure company, which is to be responsible, as a one-stop shop, for the planning, construction, maintenance, operation and funding of the motorways. The establishment of such an infrastructure company is also a crucial measure for speeding up the planning process, to enable a more streamlined planning of projects than has so far been the case in the different administrative structures of the federal states.