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German government signs $96 billion rail infrastructure plan

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 19, 2019 file photo, an ICE train approaches the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany's upper house of parliament has approved a plan to lower the value-added tax on train tickets, making rail travel cheaper from Jan. 1, 2020.

BERLIN (AP) — The German government signed a deal Tuesday with state-owned train operator Deutsche Bahn to inject almost $100 billion into the country's rail infrastructure over the next decade.

Under the agreement, the federal government will contribute 62 billion euros ($69 billion) toward maintaining and modernizing the existing train network.

Deutsche Bahn will contribute 24 billion euros (about $27 billion) to the plan that will see ageing tracks and railway bridges replaced.

Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said the investment - a 54% increase over the previous planning period - would herald a “shining age” for Germany's railways.

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The German government has pledged to expand rail travel as part of its efforts to cut emissions of planet-heating greenhouse gases from transportation.

It recently agreed to cut a value-added tax for train tickets, reducing the cost of long-distance journeys by about 10%.

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