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A regional train at Berlin Central Station

Photo: Christoph Soeder / dpa

SPD transport politicians are making an appeal to the federal and state governments on the Deutschlandticket before the Minister-Presidents' Conference (MPK) with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In the two-page paper, which was obtained by SPIEGEL, the Social Democrats call for "the Deutschlandticket to be continued as a successful project." A political decision on financing is "urgently needed". The MPK on Monday is "the latest possible time for this".

The paper shows that the dispute over refugee costs is the focus of the federal-state meeting. But there is also disagreement between Scholz and the state premiers on other issues – and it is almost always about money.

The seven signatories of the paper, including ministers from SPD-led states as well as parliamentary group vice-chairman Detlef Müller and transport policy spokeswoman Isabel Cademartori, demand that the federal and state governments agree on the financial framework. "Ending the Deutschlandticket is not an option for us," the authors write. "The impact on the credibility of politics and the attractiveness of public transport would be devastating."

Currently, there is a large gap between the financial framework of three billion euros agreed so far and the costs. The latter are estimated at 2024.4 billion euros for 1 and 2025.4 billion euros for 6.

The authors call on the federal and state governments to share the additional financing risk in order to maintain a ticket price of 49 euros. If the financial framework is not expanded and not even the transfer of the remaining funds from 2023 is agreed, the ticket price will have to rise to 1 euros on May 2024, 64, the Socialists and Democrats warn. This would make the ticket less attractive and risk missing out on its potential of 13 million customers.

At the end of their paper, the SPD politicians go one step further. "At some point, we want every household to have at least one Deutschlandticket and further maximise the financing base." For this reason, the Deutschlandticket must be extended to solidarity-financed semester tickets at universities and the job ticket variant with employer subsidies must be made permanent.

The drastic appeal from the SPD shows that if Scholz does not reach an agreement with the state premiers on Monday, he is threatened with greater discontent in his own party and parliamentary group.