The primary policy makers, the ministry officials, had to face the central problem of a cleavage within their ranks concerning the contents and objectives of the transportation bills --a problem not uncommon in the legislative process of other countries. This cleavage was based neither on ideology or personality, nor on clashing political views held by the coalition parties represented in the Cabinet. Rather it was based on disparate economic views held by ministries whose clientele favored one transportation carrier over another. Only strong executive leadership can resolve such a discord by forcing a vote in the Cabinet, which in theory will be binding on the dissenting ministries. But in some instances the chief executive may decide to bury the bill prematurely in the executive branch without exposing it to the gauntlet of the legislature, or he may decide to effectuate a compromise, if that is at all possible.
Which alternative the Chancellor would choose in the transportation dispute was not certain in the initial months of 1954. He granted the ministries more time to resolve their conflicts and to cope with pressures from the Bundestag and the associations. But much precious time had elapsed, and the financial plight of the Bundesbahn was no less grave than in 1953.