Die Verkehrsinfrastruktur in Deutschland ist chronisch unterfinanziert. Das belegen die Berichte zahlreicher Kommissionen zur Verkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierung. Notwendige Maßnahmen zur Erhaltung, die durch das ständig wachsende Verkehrsaufkommen dringend erforderlich sind, werden nur in unzureichendem Maße getätigt. Die Autoren des Zeitgesprächs analysieren die Defizite bei der Verkehrsinfrastruktur und wägen unterschiedliche Finanzierungsmöglichkeiten wie Maut- und Fondslösungen gegeneinander ab.
In German transport infrastructure provision, political decision-making and a lack of user charges are the main reasons for inefficiencies, such as underinvestment, misallocation of funds and congestions. In the last decades, transport policy in Germany has focused on network extensions, while maintaining and renewing the infrastructure have been neglected. Additional financial resources will be needed to restore the quality of the federal, state and local transportation networks, in order of magnitude of €7.2 billion p.a. in the next 15 years. Although the government collects about €45 billion in taxes and infrastructure charges from road transport, it is unable to fund the transport infrastructure adequately. Several committees have suggested new concepts to provide sufficient funding, continuity and efficiency for renewing the transport infrastructure, and different options of raising more funds are under discussion (launching a fund, increasing general or energy taxes, extending road charges). Special attention is paid to the political economy of public funding and both tax and charge resistance which are considered to be the main obstacle rather than a lack of ideas or scientific knowledge. In the end, German transport infrastructure does not only need additional money but also structural reforms to increase efficiency in the infrastructure sector.