Traffic Talk at Anne Will: About the sense and nonsense of wider highways

The traffic light coalition has set itself the goal of turning the traffic around.

Traffic Talk at Anne Will: About the sense and nonsense of wider highways

The traffic light coalition has set itself the goal of turning the traffic around. That's why she wants to quickly expand climate-friendly infrastructure. Do you need ten-lane motorways for that? Yes, says the FDP and parliamentary group leader Dürr defends the corresponding plans of the Ministry of Transport at Anne Will. Green leader Lang holds against it.

In the traffic light coalition there is still thick air. Because the traffic turnaround planned since 2021 seems to be stuck in traffic. Hardly any progress is being made in the renewal of the railway infrastructure. At the same time, the FDP is planning to expand motorways to up to ten lanes. The Greens don't agree with that. Strictly speaking, the coalition agreement only calls for the expansion of the motorway indirectly. Anne Will talks to her guests, including from the "Ampel", on Sunday evening on ARD about the traffic turnaround. At least there is agreement on one point: everything has to go faster.

According to FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr, this applies to both the expansion of the motorway and the renewal of the rail network. "We have increasing traffic everywhere," he emphasizes. "We have bottlenecks on the rails, but also on the freeways. People who get stuck in traffic every morning notice that." Dürr demands: "The green light for all traffic projects that we need so that there are fewer traffic jams in Germany and people can move faster."

Greens co-boss Ricarda Lang wants to make progress, especially with rail expansion. In times of the climate crisis, one must rely on climate-friendly infrastructure, while motorways would further fuel the crisis, she points out.

But the autobahns are lifelines of the economy and many citizens are dependent on them, counters the first parliamentary manager of the Union faction, Thorsten Frei. He is also in favor of the expansion and, above all, the urgent repair of motorways: "If you have detours because of broken roads, if you have traffic jams, then that's not necessarily climate-friendly," said the politician. In recent years, however, the railway network has also been expanded and modernized. Now one thing is important: "We have to see that we can plan, approve and implement faster." What was to be implemented was laid down in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan in 2016.

Lang criticizes that it contains plans that are decades out of date. Many of them come from a time when the climate crisis was not yet a major public issue. "It's not right to rest on your laurels," says the Green politician. "We have to see where we are adapting the tasks to the climate crisis, and that at a time when the federal government is massively tearing up the climate targets in traffic. We have to talk about what measures we need to protect the climate, but not about eight or ten lane highways. "

Mobility expert and podcaster Katja Diehl throws in a completely different thought. The discussion so far has been far too far away from the people, she criticizes. She is in favor of liberalizing the choice of transport. In rural areas in particular, many people would like to do without their cars. She is not opposed to motor vehicles, but: "I have something against the car as we use it at the moment: 45 minutes a day, with only one person on board. That can run more efficiently." For example, she supports car sharing projects. "We have to learn to use a car instead of owning it," demands the expert.

Incidentally, this has worked well in Germany in the past: in 1979, the price of petrol rose to the equivalent of 50 cents per liter for the first time, and car pools formed everywhere in rural areas. Cars with four occupants were the norm, not the exception.

Diehl does not agree at all with the expansion of freeways. "Building more freeways to fight congestion is like loosening your belt to lose weight." This is a backward-looking policy. It requires focusing primarily on people who take the train, cycle or walk.

While Frei is focusing on the expansion of local public transport, especially in rural areas, he also criticizes the introduction of the 49-euro ticket. "That's great for the metropolitan areas, but bad for the rural areas, where you have to have connections first." In some rural areas, the introduction of the "Germany ticket," as Dürr would prefer to call it, could even lead to the discontinuation of individual connections. After all, the federal states would have to contribute 1.5 billion euros to subsidize the cheap ticket. "And there are many who can't do that," says Frei.

The two traffic light politicians are not afraid of that, and at the end of the program Lang summarizes: "What we have to achieve is affordable mobility and an expansion of the offer. Both are possible. If we can do that, we will take a big step forward in climate neutrality."