Half a year after the failure of the car toll, a committee of inquiry of the Bundestag has begun its work. Should be clarified allegations against Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU). Among other things, the opposition accuses him of having prematurely concluded contracts for the implementation of the toll and of agreeing on arrangements for compensation that taxpayers could now face dearly. Scheuer also show a lack of education. The Federal Court of Audit also told the ministry that it had violated the procurement and budget law for the tolling contract that had since been canceled. The Minister rejects the allegations.
Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) opened the inaugural committee meeting, which was completed in less than half an hour. The prelude involved applications to request files and documents from federal departments and authorities. The next meeting is scheduled for mid-January, when experts will also be heard. First witness interviews could be from February. The U-Committee has nine members: three from the Union, two from the SPD and one each from the FDP, Greens, Left and AfD. Committees of inquiry may, inter alia, invite witnesses and request files for their work.
Before the committee began, opposition politicians had renewed their criticisms of the Minister of Transport's approach. Stephan Kühn, chairman of the Greens in the toll committee, Scheuer spoke on Deutschlandfunk a large part of the responsibility. Scheuer had "frivolously handled with tax money" and took full risk. In the committee of inquiry, however, the general awarding practice of the Ministry of Transport must also be given a scrutiny. The panel would have to investigate whether money would be handled carefully in the finance department. Green Party Vice Oliver Krischer said scouring broke the constitution and lied to Parliament at the expense of taxpayers.
Scheuer rejects allegations
The transport policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group, Oliver Luksic, told the radio station Bayern 2, the facts available so far would speak against scouring. "From the documents so far, we clearly see that he was constantly warned, but still has so decided himself." His FDP colleague Christian Jung said it was about a complete investigation of the toll disaster. The committee should be "short and painful".
Minister Scheuer rejects the allegations and demands for resignation. His party colleague, the CSU deputy Ulrich Lange, warned against prejudices. He called for fair work in the committee. The car toll had been decided by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
Scheuer had closed the contracts for the collection and control of the toll with the operators Kapsch and CTS Eventim already 2018, before final legal security existed. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared the car toll illegal in mid-June. Immediately thereafter, the federal government announced the contracts. This could result in claims of companies in the millions, but according to the Ministry of Transport, there are still none available.