The Junta de Andalucía has revealed details of its new budget for 2020, approved by the regional cabinet last Friday. The spending plan, which the regional government hopes will be passed by the Andalusian parliament by the end of the year, was described on Thursday by regional Health minister, Jesús Aguirre, as "historic".
The biggest sums have been designated to the Health and Education departments, with more than 11 billion euros - 28% of the total spend - going towards the former. This health budget is up four per cent on this year's plan.
The Education department in Andalucía has been assigned more than 6.8 billion euros for 2020, 3.6% up on this year.
On a local level, the region's total spending for 2020 in the province of Malaga is 208.1 million euros, 55 million more than this year's total, although the 2019 budget did not get through the Andalusian parliament until June this year.
While Malaga province gets the third biggest sum after Cadiz and Seville, Socialist member of the regional parliament Francisco Conejo pointed out that the average amount per inhabitant here is 127 euros, significantly lower than the regional average of 169 euros.
One of the highlights of the new budget is the 2.6 million euros earmarked for Malaga's new hospital, a project that was only agreed on between the Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno, and the city's mayor, Francisco de la Torre, earlier this month.
The funds, while still a small sum, will go towards to the drawing up of initial plans, which should be complete by next summer.
The other outcome of the agreement made between region and city at the beginning of October was the decision to build an underground metro line to the area of the new hospital, to be constructed on the land next to the existing Hospital Civil currently used as a car park. Another two million euros has been set aside for the new metro line which will run from the new station being built outside El Corte Inglés.
One out of every four euros designated to the province of Malaga will go towards the metro works already under way, a total of 54.8 million euros. Tunnels have already been built between the Guadalmedina river and the main station in El Perchel and from the river to the city centre (halfway down the Alameda). The contract for the architecture of the stations and to lay the tracks and cables is soon to be awarded. The metro also gets another sum of nearly 75 million to guarantee the management of the service.
Motorway to Ronda
Outside the city the regional authority, run by a PP-Ciudadanos coalition has remembered the former's electoral promise to build the widely demanded dual carriageway between Malaga and Ronda via Campillos, granting the project an unspecified sum for viability studies.
Wastewater treatment has been given a sum of ten million euros within the budget for the sewage works north of Malaga, which will cost a total of 80 million euros and will benefit the city and towns in the Guadalhorce valley. Another four million has been set aside for the treatment plant at Valle de Abdalajís.
In the culture section, Malaga's Picasso museum gets 4.7 million euros, while the Fine Arts and Archaeological museum will receive funds for exhibitions and activities. Another 2.6 million euros will go to the Malaga City Orchestra, while the Acinipo archaeological site near Ronda and the dolmens in Antequera have also been designated specified sums.
Antequera's dry port project gets a boost in the budget with a financial injection of 13 million euros.
Road maintenance and conservation gets a total of 12.5 million for the province of Malaga with separate sums for rural infrastructure and country lanes.
A total of 14 million euros goes to the province's agro-food industry and in Vélez-Málaga some 50,000 euros has been set aside to help resume the abandoned tram service.
The only project in Marbella to get a specific mention in the 2020 budget is the new health centre in San Pedro which gets 1.6 million euros.
This apparent lack of attention was criticised by the local Socialist opposition leader, José Bernal, who said that amendments would be proposed.
Among the projects not specifically mentioned in the budget details released last week is the completion of the Costa del Sol hospital extention as well as other health centres in the town.
On a visit to Marbella this week, however, Junta delegates said that the completion of the major projects such as the hospital extension was guaranteed.
"There's no doubt that the extension will be completed by this government," said the provincial delegate for Health and Education, Carlos Bautista.
Following negotiations on Thursday, the hard-right party Vox, whose members' votes are needed to pass the PP-Cs coalition's budget, agreed not to block the spending plan as a whole, and a deal is expected to be reached next week.