Also, from a distributional point of view, the procurement of motorways in the Federal States
doesn’t always seem to follow clear rules, rather political power and priorities.
Part of differences can be explained by size and population densities: small and
densely populated states such as the cities of Hamburg and Bremen tend to have denser
federal road networks while the per-capita provision is higher in large states such as Bayern
or Niedersachsen. Some outliers can be explained by negative demographic development and
regional development objectives in the new federal states after unification (Mecklenburg-
However, there are unexplainable exemptions such as a very
low density of federal roads in the capital city of Berlin and comparably high per-capita
provisions in Saarland. Clear investment rules and classification of roads according to their
importance for federal interest could overcome part of the discrepancies. Another lesson
learnt in the case of the new federal states in Eastern Germany is that infrastructure provision
alone is not a suitable instrument for regional development and these investments need to be
considered very carefully from an efficiency point of view.
The co-ordination of investment decisions between states is organised via several committees,
e.g. On the highest political level the Conference of Ministers of Transport (VMK –
Verkehrsministerkonferenz), and joint working groups at lower decision levels. However,
investments into the transport infrastructure are not always synchronised, and special
problems arise in cross-national planning when a similar number of actors can be involved
from a second country, leading to lengthy planning processes (see e.g. Fabian, 2005).