The relationship amongst the federal states in Germany is also determined by the cooperative
federalism with the states aiming at a coordination of politics on several levels, e.g. In the
Bundesrat and its committees as well as other joint boards.
For transport policy the most
important committees for coordinating decisions on the state level are the Committee on
Transport of the Bundesrat (Verkehrsausschuss des Bundesrats) and the Conference of
Ministers of Transport (VMK – Verkehrsministerkonferenz). The federal Ministry of
Transport, Housing and Building (BMVBW) is invited as a guest to the VMK. Its meetings
and decisions are prepared by the Conference of Heads of Transport Departments (VALK)
and the Conference of Heads of Department for Road Construction (LKS) from the states.
Besides, five state working groups (e.g. On rail transport or on the Federal Transport
Infrastructure Plan) and joint federal-state committees provide input for the VALK and LKS.
This system of cooperative federalism is mirrored in the system of transport planning and
investment decisions in Germany. The federal level is generally responsible for planning,
construction, maintenance and operation of federal roads and trunk roads (Bundesfernstraßen:
Autobahnen and Bundesstraßen), federal railways (Deutsche Bahn Netz AG as part of
Deutsche Bahn AG), and inland waterways. Airports and sea ports fall under the
responsibility of the states, with their connection to the surface transport modes covered on
the federal level.
The main instrument of federal infrastructure planning is the federal
infrastructure master plan, identifying the need for federal transport infrastructure projects and
corresponding lists of projects (development acts) as part of federal legislation
(Fernstraßenausbaugesetz etc.). A comprehensive overview of the national infrastructure
planning process of Germany can be found in Rothengatter (2005a). Figure 1 provides an
overview of the political process and the role of the planning bodies in this process. The
transport master plan contains a list of priority projects for investments, ranked according to
the results of a project appraisal comprising a monetary cost-benefit analysis, an
environmental risk assessment and a spatial development assessment plus some additional
political criteria such as European interconnectivity or intermodal integration. Additionally, a
quota system is applied to provide for a fair distribution of investments between the states.
The states among other bodies have the right to apply for funding and issue lists of potential
projects as an input to the transport master planning process, and they are consulted in the
planning process after the project appraisal has been carried out and a first draft of priority
lists for transport infrastructure investments has been developed by the Ministry of Transport.