BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - Germany plans to spend 264 billion euros ($292 billion) on the construction and modernisation of roads, bridges, railways and waterways by 2030, the transport minister said on Wednesday.
Berlin is facing international pressure to loosen its purse strings and spend more on infrastructure. Other euro zone countries as well as the European Commission have called on it to boost domestic consumption in order to reduce its big trade surplus.
“The new Federal Transport Plan is the biggest investment programme on infrastructure that has ever existed,” Alexander Dobrindt said, adding that the government would focus on modernising existing infrastructure over the next 15 years.
Nearly 70 percent of the overall sum will be spent on repairing roads, bridges, railways and waterways. In the previous plan the government published in 2003, only half had been earmarked for infrastructure modernisation.
Berlin has started to rebalance its mainly export-driven economy with domestic demand increasingly playing a role as growth driver. In 2015, private consumption and state spending contributed 1.5 percentage points to an overall growth rate of 1.7 percent. ($1 = 0.9030 euros) (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)