Updated on Thursday, 28 October 2021 – 13:26
The railway infrastructure will create an economic macro-region from Andalusia to Montpellier. A few days of Expansion reflect on the state and challenges of the corridor
TONI ALBIREFETerritorio Entrepreneurs from peripheral Spain are mobilized in full debate on the capital effect of Madrid Delays The Castelln-Valencia AVE platform will take more than a decade to execute
The Mediterranean Corridor that should connect Algeciras with Europe and reach Hungary continues to be Spain’s eternal unfinished business, with more than one warning from the European Union for decades of delays. The status and development of this strategic infrastructure was debated today in the eighth edition of the Mediterranean Railway Corridor conference, organized by the newspaper Expansin in collaboration with FCC Construccin, Ferrocarriles de Catalua, Port of Barcelona and Port of Tarragona.
“There is nothing more expensive than a lost opportunity, especially for future generations. The Mediterranean Corridor can be a driving project for the Spanish economy and an important milestone in the new golden age of the railroad in this century. We have to advance in this unprecedented opportunity “, has claimed Isabel Pardo de Vera, Secretary of State for Transport and Mobility of the Ministry. Former president of Adif, Vera is well aware of the limitations of the rail network and its potential for growth. “There have been advances and inefficient times. The infrastructures are a very long-term commitment with the citizens. After so many delays, I understand the discredit among the citizens,” he admitted.
Vera has highlighted the increase in budgets for the maintenance of the national railway network: in 2005 Adif allocated 250 million, “a ridiculous figure, which highlights the importance that different governments gave to the conventional network”, while in 2020 were 790 million for the conventional network and 2,000 for the high speed. “The challenge is to execute”, Be the.
An execution that occurs slowly, although there has been progress in the last triennium. Since 2018, more than 160 actions have been tendered in the Corridor for a value of 3,000 millions in euros, which is an average of one tender per week. “The step is firm. Although I share that sometimes it is too slow,” he acknowledges Josep Vicent Boira, Government Commissioner for the Corridor. And he recalled that on January 8, 2020, the last stretch of the road between Valencia and Milan ended, opening up “new perspectives.” “We must revolutionize the transport system in Spain. The Mediterranean Corridor is urban and commercial, it links large population centers, only between Barcelona and Almera there are 10-12 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants”, defends Boira.
Beyond the infrastructures, with the Corridor a “acting trident: a serious and coordinated works plan, a program to support sustainable and digital transport (with an investment of 460 million of competitive competition for the next few years) and eco-incentives for rail freight transport (which will mean a direct aid of 60 million between 2022- 24 for the passage from road to rail) “, he explained.
For Catalonia, the Corridor is a decisive bet, an “imperative need”, in the words of Ricard Font, Secretary General of Digital Policies and Territory of the Generalitat. “Our world goes beyond the Pyrenees. The Corridor will create an economic macro-region, which will go from Andalusia to Montpellier and which could be one of the most powerful in the world”, assures Font. Every day, some 24,000 trucks cross the Franco-Spanish border through La Jonquera. “A rail highway will eliminate some of that road freight traffic that it has no ecological and social sense“, indicates Font. Because in the fight against climate change, rail transport, both for goods and passengers, is key.
“That Spain invests 64,000 million in High Speed and there is no High Speed project that unites the second and third city-states is a political, economic, social and cultural incongruity,” Font criticized of the expected high-speed connection between Barcelona and Valencia. Connection that will be expanded to ports and airports in multimodal transport that would promote business development in the autonomous communities of the Mediterranean. Representatives of the governments of Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia claimed in unison – and regardless of political differences – the need for the corridor as a way of growth for the autonomous regions. Because the Corridor is the great pending infrastructure of Spain.
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