The Transport Infrastructure Financing Agency
Motivated by the results of a High-Level Commission (“Pällmann-Kommission”) on future
financing of transport infrastructures, a multi-modal transport infrastructure financing
agency (VFIG, Verkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesellschaft) was established based on the
„Verkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesellschaftsgesetzes“ (VIFGG) (transport infrastructure
financing agency law) in 2003, going into operation in 2004. It is completely owned by the
federal government and presently managed by civil servants from the ministry of transport.
The major motivation for founding the VFIG was to create the institutional structures
enabling and supporting transport infrastructure investments outside the general public budget
and public accounting system. Its tasks are the financing and financial management of those
aspects of the construction, maintenance and operation of transport infrastructure that are the
responsibility of the federal level and the preparation and carrying out of PPP projects (A and
F models, see below). One of the major advantages of the agency is that it is not bound by the
public accounting system and has therefore more flexibility in transferring funds temporally
and between investment activities. Secondly, a more transparent connection between user
charges and investments into the infrastructure should be established. However, user charges
from the HGV toll on motorways and inland waterway tolls are still collected by federal
institutions and the VFIG receives these charges indirectly through the general federal budget.
Therefore, three major issues are the subject of current debate (e.g. BDI, 2005):
• the multi-modal character of the agency, allowing for transfers between modes
according to political willpower, reducing public acceptance of user charging;
• whether the agency should be allowed to be able to retrieve money from the capital
market to raise funds; this issue is to be examined according to the coalition contract
of the current government (CDU et al., 2005)
• whether user charges should be earmarked and transferred directly and without being
passed through the federal budget to the agency.
However, since the HGV toll as one of the major sources of refunding is only operational
since 2005, there is yet little empirical evidence to assess the performance of the agency.