The West German Legislative Process: A Case Study of Two Transportation Bills

By Gerard Braunthal | Go to book overview

[CHAPTER XIV]
Conclusion

This study is concerned with the shaping of public policy in one portion of the globe, in one functional area, and in one specific time span. The focus was on two West German transportation bills of the 1950's, chosen to illuminate the political and legislative process in one democratic polity, and to test several hypotheses concerning the decision-making process. A mix of universal and unique characteristics are reflected in such a policy process. In all political systems the government must decide how to mobilize its scarce resources, such as revenue-producing taxes, and how to allocate them to the tasks and functions it is expected to perform. In this decision- making process, the government is constantly forced to choose between alternative policies. Once it has chosen, it must exert power and controls to assure compliance with its policy.1

These universal characteristics pertain to the two bills. The West German Government had to decide how much scarce revenue it could muster through higher motor vehicle, transportation, and motor fuel taxes. It had to decide how to allocate those taxes for a revamping of the transportation network, and for a settlement of the trucking versus railroad controversy. It had to make continual choices between alter-

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1
For a full discussion, see Mitchell and Mitchell, pp. 3-26.

-228-

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