Saturday, November 12, 2016

Private Autobahns? Really?

So, this morning in Germany, as you open the Bild or various newspapers....there's this rumor story.  Most will carry it on page one or two.

The story is that to get around the EU frustration with this autobahn 'fee' for visitors to Germany using the autobahn system.....the German government is going invent a way through the Basic Law (the Constitution of Germany) for private companies to own the autobahn system.

If you suggest this to some German....they will immediately ask fifty questions and be critical of such an idea.

So far, the basic idea or belief is that mostly banks and insurance companies would buy into this deal.  No one says that all autobahns would be owned by one company.  The other side of this is that states themselves (Hessen or Bavaria, for example) might get into the deal and own parts of the Autobahns themselves.

This draft law? It's only be discussed behind doors and likely only to be heard in about a month there in the Bundestag.

The problems with this?  You could probably bring in five or six business people and they'd mostly laugh over the implications.

For could have Saudi Arabia come in and buy a large segment of A7 from the Danish border all the way to the Austrian border.  Or you could have some US bank come the Lehmen Brothers bankrupt group, and fix up some weird package to sell A7 'papers' through some tax-free gimmick and walk away with no taxes paid on their profits.

Would the autobahn system be kept up, or would some audit have to occur yearly to force the owners to fix their piece of the autobahn system?

Would people get angry about this and suddenly lessen their use of the German autobahn system?

Right now, it appears that one 'brake' on this deal is that private companies will only be allowed to own up to 49.9 percent, with the remainder held by the federal government or state government.

Pushing this through before the October 2017 election?  Yes.  Opposition parties to this?  I doubt if the Greens or Linke Party would support this, and it might not even sell well to the SPD?

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