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The Minister of Public Works commits to important high-tech rail project and the tender process will begin soon
30.04.13 - 13:02 -
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New rail test ring for Antequera is to go full steam ahead
The project will be put out to tender before summer, said the minister. :: Carlos Moret
After years of delay, the high-speed rail test ring that is to be built in the Antequera area now has government approval and the project appears to be moving full-steam ahead.
During a recent visit to the provincial capital, Ana Pastor, the Minister of Public Works, committed the Madrid government to the construction of the rail test ring. “For something to move forward, it has to have a business plan as well as a guarantee of sustainability. Therefore, over the last months, the Administrator of Railway Infrastructure (Adif) has worked on a viability study concerning the realisation and the operation of the test ring, after consultation with more that 40 businesses.”
She added, “This process allowed us to assess the real level of interest in the project. The involvement of the private sector is extremely important for the project to be viable, for it to become a reality and a model for Europe and for the rest of the world.”
Pastor reminded the audience that last week’s announcement only concerned the actual construction of the five sections of track that would comprise the main ring. On April 8 she provisionally approved the basic project and on April 17, the public information period began.
There have been a number of modifications introduced to the project in an attempt to incorporate demands in the first phase of the public information stage. Perhaps the most important was the removal of the secondary rings from the plan, in an attempt to minimise environmental impact. Instead, an additional track has been added to the primary straight.
The massive circuit will reach a length of 57.9 kilometers and its path will touch the municipalities of Antequera, Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero, and finally Mollina and Benameji (in Cordoba). However, for the work to begin, the Ministry of Public Works must take legal responsibility for the properties affected by the circuit.
This process officially began this week with the publication in the Official Bulletin of State (BOE) of the names of the 712 properties that will need to be expropriated. Most of them are farming land so the compulsory purchase orders are opposed by the agricultural association Asaja, which claims that they will lead to the destruction of 50,000 workdays per year and a loss of more than a thousand hectares of fertile land.
On the positive side, the works will generate more than 1,167 billion euros of business as well as more than 7,000 jobs from both direct and indirect employment, according to a study by the University of Malaga. In all, some 358 million euros of investment capital is expected to be dedicated to the project, 215 million of which will come from the European Union.
Minister Pastor was not the only person commenting on the new initiative. Antonio Ávila, the regional head Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment for the Andalusian government noted the many valid reasons why locating the test ring in Andalucia made good sense. He stated, “Andalucía has always led the way in terms of high-speed trains n Spain with the first AVE from Madrid to Seville (in 1992) and the region aspires to continue this leadership. I am referring to the capacity and potential of Malaga, with technological installations such as the PTA (the Malaga Technological Park).”
More funding announced
The following day, at a meeting of business leaders hosted by Club Malaga Valley, a group dedicated to making Malaga the “Silicon Valley” of Europe, Minister Pastor announced an additional 100 million euros in financing for the upcoming project. The credit is derived from both public and private sources and will be repaid in installments over 10 years. This is in addition to the 215 million euros already earmarked for the project.

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