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Old November 23rd, 2015, 05:43 PM   #8301
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It's not confusing once you get used to it. Even a two-lane roundabout is still much better than an intersection with traffic lights.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 08:46 PM   #8302
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A1 Rhine River Bridge

The design of the Rheinbrücke Leverkusen (Rhine River Bridge at Leverkusen). The plans were published today.


Entwurf Rheinbrücke Leverkusen by European Roads, on Flickr
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 10:10 PM   #8303
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Yep, the plan approval order was started.
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Which new motorways are currently under construction?
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Old November 24th, 2015, 12:22 AM   #8304
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nice! It looks like they even reserved space for another lane in the future. I never thought I'd see something this (relatively) intelligent in any bigger project in germany. Normally they just add a lane (if at all) and then get confused how it could possibly be congested again.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 08:41 PM   #8305
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A94 München - Passau

The concession of the construction of the missing link and maintenance of A94 east of München was awarded to Isentalautobahn GmbH yesterday.

The concession runs from Forstinning to Marklt (77 km) and includes the construction of the 33 km missing link from Pastetten to Heldenstein. The concession will start on 1 February 2016 and runs for a period of 30 years. The deadline for the construction of the Pastetten - Heldenstein missing link is late October 2019. The concession value over the 30-year period is € 1.1 billion. The PPP model is based on availability payments (no tolls).

http://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Pre...erteilung.html


Maybe someone can clarify how this works with the Pastetten - Heldenstein segment. The concession doesn't start until next year, but a groundbreaking was held in 2012 and 2013 for these two segments. Which means the construction of these segments were awarded before this concession agreement. Does Isentalautobahn GmbH takes over the ongoing construction site from other contractors?

Normally, a concession agreement would be signed before construction begins. In this case it starts 3-4 years after construction began, which seems unusual.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 08:58 PM   #8306
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The 2012 groundbreaking ceremony was for various "preparation works". These included:

- building earthworks at the heads of four future bridges
- moving those streets that were passed over for the duration of future construction
- building a flood control basin
- zoning the future construction areas incl. building accessways
- constructing some smaller, preplanned pits and embankments
- searching the construction area for bombs
- searching for possible archeological finds in the area
- reconstructing 13 hectares nature compensation zones

The construction awarded now basically takes the fully prepared construction zone and only builds the autobahn on it.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 09:27 PM   #8307
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Satellite imagery shows they are constructing the 275 m long Lappachtalbrücke and two underpasses at St2086 near Dorfen. That's a bit more than 'preparation works'.

But maybe that contract was only to construct them, and then let Isentalautobahn construct the rest of the route. It's fairly common in Germany to award numerous individual contracts for earthworks, bridges, paving, etc. In most other countries this is all included in a single contract.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 10:52 PM   #8308
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Good news about what about the last part from Marktl to the A3? It would probably make more sense to Austrian A8 but I understood are against it and prefer to just use German highways to go from one part of Austria to the other...
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Old November 25th, 2015, 11:02 PM   #8309
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Apparently they are actively planning the A94 extension to Passau.

I don't get why some states oppose PPP projects. They are a resounding success elsewhere in Germany, long stretches of Autobahn have been widened to six lanes in 3-4 years under a PPP scheme, while traditionally funded projects of such lengths drag on for decades.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 11:25 PM   #8310
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One colleague from work told me the PPP projects are the biggest problem of Germany, this is why roads are so bad and there is no money for projects...
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Old November 25th, 2015, 11:34 PM   #8311
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The Bundesrechungshof (German Federal Court of Auditors) said that PPP constracts are more expensive than traditional contracts. SPD and Green party do often not like PPP, e.g. the Minsters of Transport from NRW and Lower Saxony.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 12:13 AM   #8312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinxxx View Post
One colleague from work told me the PPP projects are the biggest problem of Germany, this is why roads are so bad and there is no money for projects...
Other way round. It is for the PPP that bad motorways could be renewed and widened. Without the PPP, the A1 between Hamburg and Bremen would either still be 2+2 or be under construction for 20+ years.

Last edited by Heico-M; November 26th, 2015 at 12:34 AM.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 12:38 AM   #8313
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I tried to reason with him, but had no chance...
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Old November 26th, 2015, 06:05 AM   #8314
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I tried to reason with him, but had no chance...
I guess you can do everything in a good or in a bad way.

I agree that the Widening you spoke of was in time and money. And i did not hear that this amount of money was very high in the first place. But it depends what you compare it too. The Bundesrechnungshof states that in most cases the building by the state would have been cheaper.

If it works or not depends on the treaty, the choosing of the partner etc. There are much things which can go wrong, like in the conventional scheme also.

The Idea that conventional building is always bad, and PPP is always good (or the other way around) is a simple explanation for simple minds. But thats human in a way.

What one should do is to dig in the information basis (which is sometimes not given in PPP projects) and argue thereafter. What people do is, to see the problems of building in germany and argue that PPP is the solution.

But there are a lot of questions:

1. There are also other factors. In several places here was discussion about law pushing fast building (Poland...) or hindering it (CZ, Germany...).

2. The risk is still on side of state. If the comany goes bankrupt, the state pays. If the money was not enough, the state does not cancel the treaty (nobody wants to start again and loose more time and money) but pays more.

3. There is not more money, but the state makes treaties to pay later (time period of say 30 years) So you see the nice motorway and cheer. But for the society its just a new load of debt. Spend now pay later.

4. You can trick the official numbers of states debt this way. Its something not counted, that you agreed to pay next xx years, its handled like a maintenance treaty.

All in all i tend to oppose PPP. There are several good examples, where things happened faster, and you may save money also by building not in such small pieces like usual here. But even in this case its not clear that the payment was not to high. It undermines democratic control, because the public is given less information (Geschäftsgeheimnis). And finally it brings not more money to infrastructure but spends money we don't have.

Some saying i like:

First you have a problem. Second you have a solution. Third you have much more problems, caused by the solution. Its wiser to stay with the initial problem and learn to accept it.


For me its a fail of politics. How much money we spend (or dont) is a political question. It must be a decision to give more money, or it must be told clearly, that we need it for other things (education is also an infrastructure). Same thing about the laws. Politics must make clear that something is necessary or also take back an idea. But in fact in both cases politician decide to lie, because that seems to be easier. To argue that something must be built, prognosis about future traffic is systematically overestimated in Eastern germany. This shrinks trust in the planning procedure altogether, and in politics altogehter. We had the discussion about missuse of public money in this federal system already. Everyone want to have a share, its not about necessity. On the other side german law wants to deal with all interests, which makes the planning very slow. The truth is, that you can't be fair to everyone. But thats the shadow side of individualist society. NIMBY-ism etc. Everyones own needs seem the highest to him. Country of lawyers...

I like you people. But reality is often much more complex like you are saying...
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Old November 26th, 2015, 12:44 PM   #8315
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I'm not into that politicians-always-lie thing.
Maybe traffic prognoses have been overestimated in Eastern Germany.
Those estimations are made by humans and humans can go wrong, even politicians are humans, believe or not, and if they want a sexy A 13 from Berlin to Dresden, they decide to build it, period.

My boss drove through Eastern Germany yesterday and was happy that there was not that much traffic, so he could come through faster.

Regarding PPP, of course it is a matter of how contracts are being made.
At the end of the day, it is quite probable that the costs will be higher than the conventional way funding. But remember that you get something for the price, and that it is maybe worth it.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 02:21 PM   #8316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiH View Post
The Bundesrechungshof (German Federal Court of Auditors) said that PPP constracts are more expensive than traditional contracts. SPD and Green party do often not like PPP, e.g. the Minsters of Transport from NRW and Lower Saxony.
It is about what cost elements you include, and what you include as benefits.

If the labor cost of public officers is counted as zero and the value of quick construction is counted as zero, then the PPP model most probably is more expensive: Governments typically can buy cheaper loans than public companies. In addition, the PPP reveals the project management cost which can easily be hidden in the government-driven projects.

Often, it still is question of power. Here in where polar bears run on streets, everyone else is satisfied with the PPP model except the Ministry of Finance. The officers at that ministry have more power than the parliament and the cabinet together. Every long-term agreement like PPP reduces their power during the annual budget negotiations.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 03:40 PM   #8317
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Under a PPP scheme, the full funding to finish a project as soon as possible becomes available from the beginning. With government-funded projects, funding is often allocated in small blocks with little contracts for every segment and construction phases. This is what generally drags German construction projects on for decades. While under a PPP scheme a 50 km stretch can be widened in 4 years, traditionally funded projects require 4 years for each 5-10 km segment. The amount of time between groundbreaking and completion of small or uncomplicated projects in Germany is nothing but absurd.

One key problem in Germany remains, even with PPP projects; procedures. They are much more complex and longer than in some other countries. An example is the Femahrnbelt Tunnel. The amount of pages for the German plan approval order was nearly 10 times as many than for the Danish side, despite the project being more or less 50/50 divided between the countries. In addition, the number of appeals was 100 times (!!) higher in Germany than in Denmark (30 vs 3100). That's insane given the small spatial impact of the tunnel on the island of Fehmarn.

You'll typically see that the procedures for longer stretches are also divided in smaller segments. For example the planned PPP widening of A3 between Würzburg and Nürnberg is divided in 10 segments, each with a separate procedure.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 05:14 PM   #8318
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Interesting discussion! But difficult to argue pro/contra PPP globally, as it is very different for each country. And there are many different aspects to it, and many different PPP models.
  • As usual, if a private, profit-oriented company takes over infrastructure projects, you can expect a more efficient management - as inefficiency means a directly visible loss of money. However, whether that is an important aspect that justifies PPP, really depends on the country.
    I'd guess in Romania, where the highway authority seems to be mostly incompetent, but still employs *many* people, PPP might be a good option, not only for efficiency, but to actually "get things done". In contrast in Austria, where you generally have a good management of important road projects by the authority, it might not be such a gain.
  • One other aspect is the quality of work - a PPP is oriented towards profit, so you could expect them to cut costs where possible, which might lead to lower standards in construction and/or maintenance, and important re-construction tasks might get deferred to after the end of the PPP concession. For that I guess you need really good contracts to ensure good maintenance.
  • Finally, financing and risks are the biggest issue. What strikes me the most is that in many PPPs, there is actually little to no risk for the companies, as they get often compensated for too low traffic (and thus toll) volumes!
    Such settings kind of reduce PPPs to what was mentioned earlier - an easy way to draw on funds that do not stress your countries balance sheets. And it becomes an easy way to bring forward investments, by limiting options in the future, when you have your annual rates to be paid for all these projects.
    But then, this is not an issue of the guys who decided to do so, because they got their fame now, and are no longer in power in the future when it may become an issue..
    But you can not do this forever, to draw on funds that would be available in an ever distant future...
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Old November 26th, 2015, 05:33 PM   #8319
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One other aspect is the quality of work - a PPP is oriented towards profit, so you could expect them to cut costs where possible, which might lead to lower standards in construction and/or maintenance, and important re-construction tasks might get deferred to after the end of the PPP concession. For that I guess you need really good contracts to ensure good maintenance.
That's why concession periods are usually around 20-30 years. That way there is no incentive to cut corners on quality, because they would have to pay for the deficiencies themselves. Usually the infrastructure has to be handed over in good quality at the end of the concession period. So they can't get away with handing over the motorway full of potholes after 30 years.

Quote:
Finally, financing and risks are the biggest issue. What strikes me the most is that in many PPPs, there is actually little to no risk for the companies, as they get often compensated for too low traffic (and thus toll) volumes!
Today's PPPs often utilize the 'availability payments' or 'Verfügbarkeitsmodell' method. This means there is a fixed payment over the entire concession period, with deductions if the infrastructure isn't available (for instance lane closures). That way there are no financial surprises for both the concession company and the tax payers.

Previous PPP projects employed payments in the form of shadow tolls or truck toll revenue. That turned out to be a gold mine for the concession companies and negative for tax payers. The Netherlands also used this model in the early 1990s and they decided to stop with this PPP model alltogether due to the much higher than anticipated cost, because traffic grew more than they expected (wanted).

Of course, there could be situations where the contract value may be renegotiated, due to unforeseen problems during or after construction. This is not really different from government projects, which frequently have significant cost escalation as well.
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Old November 26th, 2015, 06:15 PM   #8320
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Today's PPPs often utilize the 'availability payments' or 'Verfügbarkeitsmodell' method. This means there is a fixed payment over the entire concession period, with deductions if the infrastructure isn't available (for instance lane closures). That way there are no financial surprises for both the concession company and the tax payers.
But this leaves the door open to overvalued concessions, based on excessive growth expectations. You know how much you'll have to pay, but as a taxpayer you're not really sure the value was calculated properly.
And this takes us back to the issue of lack of trust in politics...

I have a very negative bias on PPP, due to what I saw here in Veneto region: politicians saw them as a great way to launch projects in a short time span (immediate political return) and shift the economical downsides to a time when their career won't be influenced anymore. Thanks to this godsend, the dumbest projects were launched (or were about to be launched, just before the promoters were all arrested for massive corruption )
Also, there was little or no control over the contract, because who cares? In ten years I'm outta here.

Now, if you have a moronic electorate there's not much you can do and you'll end up with dumb projects anyway, but the PPP acted as a powerful incentive in removing all the obstacles that were represented by financial limits.

In the end you're right, PPP gives a way to kickstart important projects much sooner, but if a region has poor control over its policies this ends up being a knife held from the wrong side...
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Last edited by Wilhem275; November 26th, 2015 at 06:21 PM.
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