RAQUEL SÁNCHEZ, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, MOBILITY AND URBAN AGENDA
Spanish railways have substantially changed and improved in the last 25 years and nowadays it is considered a benchmark for safe and sustainable mobility. For 4 years we have been promoting railways as never before to improve our daily and long-distance transport systems, with the aim of improving our connectivity and mobility.
For this reason, the railway is the central piece of the investments included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. In fact, of all the investments in mobility, MIMTA will directly execute 6,200 million euros in railways.
In the General State Budgets for this year, we have allocated more than 40% of the total budget of MITMA to the railway. A budget boost that will be reflected both in our long-distance network and in Cercanías.
And in this impulse, we are paying special attention to the improvement of our conventional network for which we increased investments by 55% in our aim to achieve a less carbonized, more efficient, closed and diversified logistic. A key to improve safety, competitiveness and resilience of our industrial and foreign sectors.
To do so, 4 out of every 10€ budgeted are being dedicated to advancing in railway works, projects and action plans. Railway investments that are going to become improvements for citizens and also for freight traffic. A territorial and socioeconomic backbone that will be based on an increase of new services, connections and the creation of new itineraries as we expand the network and complete corridors.
In the last 4 years we have increased the length of the Mediterranean Corridor by 233 kilometers after having put into service the AVE to Granada, the Alcudia-Moixent section, the Vandellós diversion and the connection between Monforte del Cid and Beniel -which has allowed to run AVEs to Elche and Orihuela- where, in addition to radically improve Alicante connections, we have also approach towards the AVE route to Murcia, which we are planning to finish by the end of the year. A milestone that which will allows us to continue with the works towards Almería and Granada, a connection in which, thanks to the work carried out in these 4 years, we have practically all the civil contract sections awarded or in execution, having tendered more than 1,650 million euros in this connection.
We have also recently presented the Granada-Almería functional study, with an estimated investment of more than 615 million euros, with which the Mediterranean Corridor is completely defined.
In addition, we are currently working on the change of track gauge between Castellón and Tarragona, which will be one of the most relevant actions for the development of the Mediterranean Corridor as a strategic axis for the promotion of rail transport and the socioeconomic development of the Mediterranean arch and its area of influence.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Corridor, we have broadened its definition to include Galicia and Asturias so that that they can also benefit from the funds to improve these stretches of the network. Also, we have already put into service the AVE to Galicia, the first phase of the high-speed line to Extremadura and we are currently performing the required infrastructure tests on the Pajares diversion.
Likewise, in relation to freight transport, we must highlight the actions that we are carrying out to improve the Bobadilla-Algeciras and Zaragoza-Teruel-Sagunto lines, where our objective is to electrify the two lines and provide them with the capacity to operate 750m trains.
Finally, we put into service the standard gauge railway connection from Madrid-Puerta de Atocha to Madrid-Chamartín Clara Campoamor, an essential infrastructure for the development of an international gauge backbone network in Spain, since it allows the interconnection of the high-speed lines that passes through Madrid in order to create a single, transversal network.
These examples are not, far from it, all the actions in which we are currently working on, but they undoubtedly constitute some of the most important challenges for the improvement and enhancement of our railway network. And liberalization comes to strengthen the sector.
The development of European corridors, the increase in interoperability and intermodality will facilitate mobility and trade, increasing industrial competitiveness and allowing access to national and international markets more efficiently, which will bring associated increases in activity economic. Likewise, the development of these corridors will provide Spain with greater territorial cohesion, both internally and externally, shortening travel times and making them safer and more efficient economically and environmentally.
Also, the promotion of efficient and sustainable methods of transport, such as the modal transfer from road to rail, will help reduce Spain’s dependence on imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the boost to the railway will contribute to reducing another series of negative externalities associated with road transport, such as congestion, noise or accidents.
Finally, concepts such as security, interoperability, sustainability, digitization… in short, quality and competitiveness are key in modern language. And these concepts have been internalized by the Spanish railway companies and have been embedded in their daily work. This is why they are present worldwide, offering innovative solutions, with maximum safety and sustainability standards and transferring our vision of the railway beyond our borders.
In this new edition, the largest worldwide exhibition of the railway sector that will take place in Berlin between 20th and 23rd of September, will involve the highest number of participants to date.
More than 60 Spanish companies, in addition to Adif and Renfe, representing the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda as support and showcase of the Spanish railway sector.