State to release technical study about the Mediterranean railway corridor on March 3rd in Barcelona

The Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport, José Blanco, has said that the Mediterranean corridor is an investment priority considering 110 million tonnes of freights are transported across the border each year.

Marina López / ACN

January 27, 2011 08:09 PM

Vilafant (ACN) .- The State will release a technical study about the Mediterranean railway corridor on 3rd March in Barcelona. The Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport José Blanco said this week that cross-border connections should be a priority in times of crisis and that the Spanish government should invest more in infrastructure. According to Blanco, the commitment to have a transport means from Algeciras to the heart of Europe is necessary for the competitiveness of the economy. At the moment110 million tons of cargo are crossing the border each year. According to sources, this figure could double by 2025. The government has applauded the announcement but has warned that to ensure progress it is important to follow the strict implementation.

The Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport José Blanco stressed the state's commitment to the Mediterranean corridor calling it a ‘strategic investment’ in infrastructure. He said that over 5,200 million euros were already invested in the corridor between 2004 to 2009 and 2,984 in 2010 and 2011 - during the crisis.

'Now is the time to devote public resources to providing more infrastructure to make the country more competitive’, said the Minister for Public Works and Transport from the Catalan town of Vilafant. Blanco said that developing the Mediterranean corridor to transport goods represents ‘moving from a radial Spain to a non-radial Spain’. He also said that it would promote companys' exports.

The minister said the government now sees the permeability of the Spanish Pyrenees as an element of 'strategic importance' and of 'undoubted relevance' to the country's economy. The minister said that some subjects had already been approved, like the transporting of goods through the Pertús tunnel. Others are still on the table but he is committed to promoting them.

Cautious Support

The Minister of Planning and Sustainability for the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluís Recoder said they expected “this proposal about the Mediterranean corridor impatiently”. He recalled that the lobby group Ferrmed had been pressing to promote this link that would united Algeciras with Stockholm . The government is however digesting this week’s information with caution.

Lluís Recoder said that the Generalitat would listen 'carefully' to what the Spanish minister had to say on March 3rd. He said also that they would ensure that a specific timetable is used to implement each phase of the project. The Spanish high-speed railway plan is mainly radial, with Madrid at the centre of all connections.

The rich and industrial Mediterranean shore, lead by Barcelona and Valencia, have long campaigned for a Mediterranean high-speed passenger railway and a European-width freight railway to connect them directly to Europe. Recently, Recorder criticised what he considered to be a 'lack of commitment' on the part of the Spanish government regarding this infrastructure.

Barcelona is the main harbour of Spain with Valencia as its second largest. Besides this, they are the second and third most populated cities in Spain. Catalonia and Valencia are two industrial centres; they produce more than 40% of Spanish exports. The railway connection with Central Europe for goods is therefore seen as a huge business and industrial priority in these areas. In addition, the passenger high-speed train linking both cities with Central Europe and Southern Spain is a strategic infrastructure that has been delayed by the Spanish Government.