WORLD: Mr. Krischer, the traffic light is planning a follow-up regulation for the 9-euro ticket. Are you happy with that?
Oliver Krischer: During the summer holidays, a traffic light partner talked about the subject with the key word “free mentality”.
WORLD: You mean FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner …
Krischer: That the traffic light has agreed on a successor is therefore a very positive message. The problem is that the federal government does not want to finance this entirely from its own resources.
WORLD: The federal government wants the states to share half of the funding. What's wrong with sharing the burdens of the crisis?
Krischer: The 16 countries are already confronted with enormous cost increases and deficits in local public transport. North Rhine-Westphalia alone would be burdened with several hundred million euros. We will have to negotiate intensively with the transport minister and the finance minister.
There is no leeway for the federal states to carry half of a follow-up ticket - otherwise we are threatened with a reduction in the local transport offer from January to compensate for the additional costs. We want to further expand the existing offer.
The conference of transport ministers is calling for an increase in regionalization funds of three billion euros across all party lines for the increased costs and the expansion desired by the federal government.
"You don't fundamentally change your mobility behavior for three months," says Lars Wagner, spokesman for the Association of German Transport Companies. At the end of the 9-euro ticket, he takes stock in the WELT interview.
WORLD: How could the follow-up ticket be counter-financed in the federal budget?
Krischer: The federal government should finally have the courage to reduce environmentally harmful subsidies. As in every other country in the world, the tax benefits of the company car privilege should finally be capped down to the size of a normal mid-range car. That would have a climate effect, and the state could save three to four billion euros.
If that's not what you want: The Federal Environment Agency has a long list of proposals for the reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies amounting to 65 billion euros. The traffic light has agreed to make this list.
WORLD: The follow-up ticket should cost between 49 and 69 euros. Isn't that too high after the 9 euro premiere?
Krischer: A 9-euro ticket cannot be financed permanently. But if you compare it with the existing large number of tariffs, then a nationwide valid local transport ticket for 49 euros or 69 euros would still be incredibly cheap and would make using public transport much easier. Above all, it would provide long-term relief for commuters. I see a significant incentive to switch from cars to trains and buses.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the 9-euro ticket has had a positive impact and at times reduced car traffic by around ten percent. I think it's okay that the ticket was also used for short vacations and excursions. If we manage to establish a cheap local transport ticket permanently, then we will be able to do without many special target group tickets.
It is the task of the federal states to expand the offer. There are regions that have little or no public transport, and when buses go there, they are often still too expensive.
WORLD: With your office you have also assumed responsibility for overcrowded streets and trains and a heavily overloaded infrastructure. Under your predecessors - one of them is the current Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst (CDU) - the situation has deteriorated. What makes you confident that you can do better?
Krischer: To be honest, no one can promise that traffic jams will decrease. I will have to make a lot of difficult decisions because we prioritize preservation over new construction. North Rhine-Westphalia has the most difficult infrastructure in Germany. This is where the rehabilitation effort is greatest. This is a key task. At the same time, we want to expand public transport and cycle paths in order to relieve the roads.
WORLD: Is the amount of public transport regionalization funds that the federal government distributes to the states appropriate for NRW?
Krischer: North Rhine-Westphalia has received too little for years, but I don't want to start a discussion between the states about who is entitled to more. The biggest problem at the moment is that the Federal Minister of Finance and the Federal Minister of Transport are refusing to implement what the traffic light coalition agreement says, namely to improve public transport capacities.
WORLD: Here we are again with the FDP, to which the two ministers belong. Do you see the biggest brakes on the planned turnaround in traffic there?
Krischer: I have the impression that people there are resisting changes. The transport minister in particular is not doing well when it comes to the climate balance of his work. We would have a great opportunity to reduce pollutant emissions by expanding public transport.
WORLD: You were state secretary with the green Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck and then switched from the traffic light federal government to the black-green NRW state cabinet. Is that the more promising coalition variant for you?
Krischer: I have drawn an important conclusion from experiences with previous red-green preferred coalitions in North Rhine-Westphalia, which were then particularly difficult: coalitions are purely political marriages of convenience in which we hope to work well together. You have to deal with an election result that voters created.
In NRW there was a clear order for black and green. I'm not thinking in categories of desired constellations. It depends on the right politics. The Greens have long said that tackling the climate crisis is the central task of our time. If a Prime Minister of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia says that, then you can see how much has changed.
"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.