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For months now, many in Germany have watched on with envy as the US makes great strides in vaccinating its population against COVID-19. Adding insult to injury, US President Joe Biden also recently unveiled a plan to invest $2 trillion (€1.7 trillion) in the country's infrastructure.

Decades of neglect on top of growing demand have left a large share of Germany's complex network of roads and railroads in need of rehabilitation. Germany's autobahn and train lines are overburdened by the volume of modern-day traffic. Around metropolitan areas, traffic jams and train delays are routine. Travelers are used to weighing the risk of spending hours caught in traffic against the likelihood of train delays. According to a recent survey from broadcaster SWR, 40% of people in Germany also feel the government hasn't done enough for cyclists.

Around 11,000 of Germany's 25,000 rail bridges are over 100 years old. Some 4% of them are in unsatisfactory condition and represent a rehabilitation value of €7.3 billion, according to 2021 reports from the website Behoerden Spiegel, citing data from the federal government.
Germany's waterways tell a similar story: Many bridges, locks and dams are old and in need of repair.

Despite its status as one of the world's most advanced economies, slow or spotty internet connectivity remains a frustration in Germany.

For years, Germany's federal government has adhered to spending policies guided by the "black zero," a commitment to a balanced budget and to not taking on new debt.
While this strategy might be second nature to a society wary of taking out credit, in practice it has led to a significant lack of investment in infrastructure.
Whatever is behind the recent plunge in foreign investment in Germany, the country needs to work on its infrastructure and digitization strategy to stay strong, according to a new report by KPMG.

Frank Sportolari, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce in Germany, agrees that more needs to be done. "The signals have been out there for a few years. American companies have been talking about the problems with digital infrastructure, energy costs, bureaucracy, and interestingly one of the positives they always mentioned was political stability — and now we can't even really talk about that anymore."

With Merkel stepping down, the German election for a new chancellor should be very interesting. A new direction for Germany or a continuation of Merkel's policies?
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