Dispute over transport policy in berlin: spd prefers the underground

The SPD wants to extend five subway lines. With this move, the party continues its political attacks on the Greens.

She pays cash: Giffey buying tickets in the subway on Friday, on the left Raed Saleh Photo: dpa

In addition to its passion for cars, Berlin’s SPD now also presents its heart for subways and their users. According to the will of the designated chairmen Raed Saleh and Franziska Giffey, no less than five lines are to be extended, if possible in the next ten years, including the U3 to the Mexikoplatz S-Bahn station, the Markisches Viertel is to be connected to the U8, and finally Saleh and Giffey have in mind a subway station for line 7 at BER. Both presented these plans on Friday during a subway ride in Rudow, where Giffey – currently still Federal Minister for Family Affairs – is running for the Berlin House of Representatives in 2021.

The ideas are not entirely new. Time and again, politicians from the SPD and the CDU, among others, have called for such gaps to be closed; the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG) has mostly reacted cautiously. The coalition agreement of the red-red-green coalition does not provide for an extension of the subway; instead, priority was given to the expansion of the streetcar network, which in principle can be implemented much more quickly.

The construction of subways is considered expensive and time-consuming. Nevertheless, Transportation Senator Regine Gunther (Green Party) has commissioned four feasibility studies to determine what effort and benefits an extension of lines 6, 7 and 8 would bring. "Planning and construction of subways are part of a metropolis – and since this election period, also part of Berlin again," her spokesperson told the taz. The results should be available by the end of the year.

Giffey is considered the SPD’s designated top candidate for next year’s election; together with Saleh, she wants to be elected SPD state chair at the end of October. Both used the presentation of their subway plans for renewed sharp criticism of the transport policy plans of the Greens. They stressed that the outer districts needed to be better connected; that was just as important as additional bicycle lanes in the inner city. Giffey accused the Greens of using "ideological blinkers to hide the construction of the subway."

Green Party state leader Werner Graf commented on the SPD’s appearance on Twitter: "Anyone who doesn’t want to shape reality is out of touch with the future. Best regards to Rudow."