As an economically strong exporting and transit nation at the heart of Europe, Germany depends on modern and efficient transport infrastructure. In the context of the investment ramp-up, significant additional funding will be available for the upgrading of existing and the construction of new transport infrastructure in the years ahead. This funding can only deliver its full benefits to the national economy if it is invested soon.
After their inclusion in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan and the requirement plans, Federal Government transport infrastructure projects usually undergo a spatial planning and subsequently a plan approval procedure at the end of which the construction go-ahead is granted. Compared with other European countries, these procedures take an above-average amount of time in Germany.
In accordance with the coalition agreement for the 19th legislative term, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure introduced a bill for speeding up the planning and approval procedures in the transport sector in the summer of 2018. The Act entered into force on 7 December 2018.
Its key objectives are:
- avoiding duplication of work
- reducing the number of interfaces
- increasing the efficiency of the procedures
- creating more transparency and promoting digitalisation in public participation
- speeding up court proceedings.
The Act is based on the findings of the Innovation Forum for Speeding up the Planning Process, which the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure launched in cooperation with high-level experts from politics, industry, administration and associations. On 24 May 2017, the Final Report was presented; it is to be regarded as a toolkit with diverse recommendations for action to speed up the planning process.