Institutional / Planning Structure
The responsibilities for transport planning and transport investment decisions in Germany are
described in the following as an example for infrastructure funding in a cooperative federal
system. As a federally organised nation Germany has a vertically tiered system of
responsibilities. The legislative, executive and jurisdictional powers are separated between the
federal level (Bund), the federal states (Bundesländer), and communities (Gemeinden).
The division of responsibilities between the federal and state level follows two principles:
firstly the principle of subsidiarity, meaning that decisions are generally taken on a
decentralised basis, with federal competences defined in the constitution. The second
important principle is that of a cooperative federalism or division of power in contrast to a
separation of powers (as e.g. In the USA).
In the cooperative system, a major part of
legislation is decided on the federal level, while the states are responsible for the
implementation. The legislative power of the German federal government can either be
executive, where the states only get legislative power if federal law explicitly authorizes them
(Basic Law / “Grundgesetz” GG Art.71), or competing with the federal states being
authorized for legislation as long as the federal level does not make use of its legislation rights
(GG Art. 72). The reduced self-determination of states in the cooperative system is
compensated by strong participatory rights in federal decision-making (Börzel, 2002).
Thus,in all matters of the Federation that concern the states’ interests, the states participate in the
federal legislation and administration through the Bundesrat, the Federal Council / Upper
House of Parliament (GG Art. 50) and representation of the federal states in the German