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Deutsche Bahn whistleblowers alleged fraud at Germany’s biggest infra project (ft.com)
24 points by belter 2 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments

There was so much corruption under Merkel's watch. So much for German efficiency. It seems they have adopted California style corruption when it comes to infrastructure projects:

Stuttgart 21 has become notorious for delays and budget overruns, placing it on an infamous list alongside Berlin’s airport and Hamburg’s Elbe Philharmonic Hall. The initial €2.5bn price tag has ballooned to €8.2bn. In 2016, Germany’s Bundesrechnungshof, the country’s highest government audit authority, warned costs may rise to €10bn and chided Merkel’s government for “serious shortcomings” in its oversight.

The FT can now reveal that in 2016 Deutsche Bahn’s compliance department received repeated warnings from inside the company that a significant part of the cost inflation was caused by glaring mismanagement and suspected corruption.

As somebody who lived almost 5 years in Germany... I never seen that famous Germany efficiency. Except maybe when its used to sell high quality ( but over priced...) cars.

From the issues of the last years with Company governance, the famous Berlin airport issues to the old manual processes at the Rathaus, never seen it... Maybe in the Swiss-German cantons or Austria?

I think its not fair to put the Elbphilharmonie in the same category.

The original plan looked very different from what was later realized. Which was a significant driver of the cost.

Just for fun, lets compare it to the Sydney opera house:

Elbphilharmonie, original projected cost: 186 Mio EUR

Elbphilharmonie, final cost: 866 Mio EUR

So in the end, 4.65x the projected cost and 7 years late.

Sydney Opera house, original projected cost (inflation adjusted cost in parens): 7 Mio AUD (70 Mio EUR)

Sydney Opera house, final cost: 102 Mio AUD (632 Mio EUR)

So in the end: 9-14x the projected cost and 10 years late (depending on if you compare based on the inflation adjusted costs).

Therefore, in comparison, not that dissimilar.

Add to that that the Sydney Opera House is absolutely horrific as a venue.[0]

After ousting Jorn Utzon[1] they tried to finish it on the cheap and running roughshod over the original plans they wound up with a totally iconic building (from the outside) and a terrible theatre and concert venue on the inside.

I haven't seen the Elb Philharmonie. But from what I heard it must be a fantastic venue in every respect.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/30/the-b...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B8rn_Utzon

As a German, I'm schockiert. Schockiert, I tell you.

Kudos on FT on uncovering this. The article is a must read to learn what is happening in the infraestructure across all Europe.

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