Former Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) has rarely been confused by superlatives anyway. Shortly before the September 2021 federal election, Scheuer found eloquent words for a new prestige project, even by his standards. In August the German Center for Future Mobility opened in Munich with all kinds of prominent politicians. Scheuer predicted it would be “a beacon of international appeal.” It’s about cars, trains, and ships that run autonomously, according to the activist, promising €400 million in the next few years. “The global audience is looking at Germany on this day,” Scheuer said.
But the global public has so far learned little about the project. And it threatens to stay that way. Because the new traffic lights government is clearly cutting off the financial plans for the controversial project. According to the Federal Ministry of Transport, only ten million euros can flow out of the 44.5 million euros set for the first year. It seems that the prestige project can no longer count on the €278 million planned for this year and the next two budget years. The center has not yet been established.
Although the idea was presented in March 2020, not much has been done about the Scheuer project yet. According to previous information, experts from science and business should look for new mobility systems with money in Munich and elsewhere. The center should include several chairs and a campus for training. Exactly what the million-euro project should look like at the height of the election campaign has slowly become more realistic in recent months. Initially, a founding advisory board was created, headed by Professor Wolfgang Hermann, former President of the Technical University. But since October, after some activities in September and October, the center itself has not published any press releases.
The Green Party and the FDP saw the investment as an election boon for CSU
Scheuer’s plan was politically controversial from the start. The Greens and the Democratic Party of Democrats accused him of lacking in conception and sawing Munich’s expensive status award as an election gift for the CSU. The fact that parts of the center were located in other federal states did not calm the waves.
Accordingly, CSU is now reacting angrily to the federal government’s plans to cut funding for the project. Bavarian Minister of Construction and Transport Christian Bernreiter spoke of a “blow to Bavaria”. “The promised money will be provided,” he insists. In a joint statement with Bernreiter, Science Minister Marcus Blum sharply attacked the federal government. “It is unacceptable to make cuts in terms of investments in research and innovation,” Blume criticized. Apparently, there are no longer any high hopes for the plans to be implemented in Munich either. “With the apparent reduction planned, the federal government is exiting future traffic planning mid-flight.”
Construction Minister Bernreiter does not want to abandon CSU’s plans, which were already very expensive, without a fight and, according to his own statement, asked Federal Transport Minister Volker Wessing (FDP) as early as mid-April to “commit to previous agreements and to build next steps plans on them.” Reliably, I haven’t received an answer yet,” Bernreiter said.
However, the Munich City Council expressed its support for the project. With the exception of the FDP and Linke/Die Party, all parliamentary blocs supported an emergency proposal from the CSU. “The funding cut that has now taken place is a huge mistake and a serious blow to the position of local science and business with repercussions at the national level,” the report says. Governing parties are urged to keep funding at the promised level; The location should remain Munich. Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) said one of them “is not inclined to make a watered-down version”. “That’s not what we mean by innovation.”