Transport Minister Wissing (FDP) insists on the expansion of the motorway and road network in Germany. Wissing: “If we don’t want to experience conditions similar to those on the rails, we urgently need to take countermeasures.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has warned that the roads in Germany could soon be as congested as the railways are today. “If we don’t want to experience similar conditions on the road as in the case of rail, we urgently need to take countermeasures here as well,” he told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “In Germany, not only the number of cars, but also freight traffic has increased constantly over the years. However, this was not followed up on either by rail or by road.”

Wissing thus followed up the dispute with Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) over faster planning procedures in the transport sector. Wissing would like the construction and expansion of roads in the future – like renewable energies – to be in the overriding public interest. This should make it easier to implement a project when the authorities and the courts weigh it up. The environment ministry is against it. It is feared that this will harm the environment. New motorways do not serve to achieve the climate goals, the opposite is the case, it said on Friday. The heads of the coalition are to deal with the topic on Thursday.

The “Bild am Sonntag” said Wissing that congested motorways would have to be widened by additional lanes. With a view to the climate protection led by the Greens, he said: “We must enable climate-neutral traffic on the road, with more electric cars and CO2-neutral fuels, also in freight transport.” Wissing emphasized the importance of the car: “Driving a car means freedom, flexibility and privacy, in rural areas and in old age also participation and self-determination. The Germans therefore rightly expect that our roads are in good condition.”

Wissing said that 3.7 billion tons of goods were transported on German autobahns last year, ten times as much as by rail. “In 2023 it will be another 50 million tons more.” Rail alone cannot absorb that. “Even if not everyone likes it: There will be more traffic on German roads and we have to deal with it. Otherwise the economy will soon come to a standstill and we will lose jobs.”