Spanish minister for Infrastructure "committed" to the new Mediterranean Corridor
The Minister of Public Works, José Blanco, announces his desires for the first stage of the project, linking Valencia and Barcelona, to develop in September. The train that will connect the main Mediterranean cities with Europe by rail is a "priority", says Blanco.
Barcelona (CNA) .- The Minister, José Blanco, opened the first tunnel of the AVE Sants-La Sagrera high speed train that will link Barcelona to the French Border yesterday. He used the opening as an opportunity to reaffirm his belief that the so called 'Mediterranean Corridor' \u2013a train that will connect Andalusia with Valencia, Barcelona and Europe- is an "essential priority" of the Spanish government. The Minister announced that the first stage of the process which would link Valencia to Barcelona and the Catalan capital to France would begin in September, whilst the creation of a two-way service between Valencia and Tarragona \u2013in south Catalonia- would start in 2013. As the launch of the high speed Barcelona-France line is expected to commence next year, Catalonia will be the first region with access to an operational section of the Mediterranean corridor.
After chairing the meeting on Tuesday morning at the AVE Sants-La Sagrera tunnel, José Blanco said that the Spanish government has reaffirmed its financial commitment, investing in the infrastructure in Catalonia. According to Blanco the cumulative investment has reached 10,000 million euros since 2004. For this reason, Blanco said the Spanish government's main objective is to include the Mediterranean Corridor in the trans-European network proposal which will be reviewed next autumn. Blanco said that the Mediterranean Corridor is the most important work being carried out in Catalonia, reflecting Rodriguez Zapatero's vision of Spanish development, which departs from the radical model \u201Cwhere everything had to go to Madrid" favoring instead a network model which spreads resources and has "invigorated our production system". In order for the railway corridor to be united with France in the north and Algeciras in the south, Blanco announced that progress will be made at the end of September. In addition, the Minister said that work will begin soon for the implementation of a third lane between Valencia and Barcelona, which would include a connection with the Seat plant in Martorell. It is hoped that completion of such a project would solve the 'bottleneck' problem which for years has hindered the movement of trains from Barcelona into the north. For his part, the Secretary General of Planning and Transport of the Catalan Government, Damian Clavet, thanked the Minister of Public Works for his services to the development of state-wide infrastructure. He also stressed the need to prioritize transportation links to the Port of Barcelona, instead of work which "may be necessary but non-priority" such as bringing a high-speed train to Castella La Mancha or Extremadura.