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The Cercanías platform at Malaga's María Zambrano station. SUR
Plenty of reasons to fight for the extension of the Costa del Sol train line
The Bottom Line opinion

Plenty of reasons to fight for the extension of the Costa del Sol train line

Marbella is the only town of its size in Spain that has no railway service, writes SUR columnist Ignacio Lillo

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Friday, 14 June 2024, 15:18

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We, the people of Malaga, have plenty of reasons to feel aggrieved by the treatment we have historically been given by successive governments in Madrid. After all, Malaga is the second province of a second-class autonomous region, seen from outside Andalucía. Malaga city is also the largest metropolitan area without being the capital of its region. In short, they have given us a hard time and continue to do so from all sides.

The only exception is the historical period in which Celia Villalobos and Magdalena Álvarez were successive ministers, then infrastructure took off. The AVE high-speed train, the outer ring road, the airport expansion, the Las Pedrizas toll motorway and the cruise terminal, to mention just the main ones, date from that period. Also, the Cercanías coastal commuter railway was also improved, which is the furthest we have been able to go so far in the fight for the railways.

The rest of the legislatures, and there have been decades of democracy, we just watch the time go by, trying to assert our battered rights in a deaf court, except for what is in its own interest.

I have already said it several times, half jokingly and half seriously, but the latter is beginning to outweigh the former: what a Catalan-style pro-independence party could achieve, which would make its seats count in exchange for investments for Malaga...

The fact is that some people still insist on saying that in those golden years at the beginning of the 21st century, Malaga received enough, and now it is the turn of others. I would be fine with that, as long as everything necessary had been done here, at least at a basic level, and that is just not the case. We should also be able to compare similar situations, that is, territories with a similar population, an economic and demographic projection, and a contribution to the state coffers via taxes, and the generation of employment and companies.

The two metropolitan areas of Malaga and the Costa del Sol are the territories with the highest growth in residents, only just behind Madrid. With an influx of tourists and a floating population that multiplies alarmingly. And for all this flood of people there is only a dual carriageway, a motorway and a train that goes halfway to the west side, not to mention the east. Marbella being the only town of its size that has no railway tracks. It is undoubtedly a territory that is one of the biggest generators of wealth and employment and that is making its way as a great technological draw and yet people are forced to travel around by car, because there are not even any decent public transport alternatives. For those and many other motives, we have plenty of reasons to fight for the coastal train.

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