Editorial | A traffic jam that lasts 25 years

This Wednesday, a thousand businessmen are going to go to Ifema, in Madrid, to demand something that is common sense: the culmination of the railway corridor that must link the Mediterranean capitals with Europe from Algeciras. An infrastructure that accumulates decades of delay and what if it was already incomprehensible 25 years ago, the fight against the climate emergency makes it unpostponable for the green transition to which Spain has committed to with the EU.

More than 70 years ago, the World Bank and the Club of Rome they advised the Francoist authorities to build a transport infrastructure that would run parallel to the Mediterranean coast. They saw the potential of this industrial, agricultural and tourist corridor. The recipe to get out of autarky was simple: create a fast track for tourists to enter and goods to leave. The dictatorship’s response was to build a toll highway. In other words, a highway financed by private capital was chosen. The result has been spectacular. From the Murcian orchard to the industries of the Barcelona conurbation, this corridor has been an economic engine for decades of Spain, both in terms of exports (footwear, toys, ceramics, furniture, etc.) and tourism, both essential to balance an increasingly unbalanced balance of payments due to the purchase of fuels. During this time, this economic lung has been strong enough to be competitive, pay for the infrastructure it used and make a net contribution to national accounts. Meanwhile, the State has used public resources to rebalance economic growth by diverting the European structural funds of the 1980s and 1990s to build free highways, first, and high-speed lines for passengers, later, in other economically disadvantaged areas. Looking at the map of Spain from the last century, it could make sense as income transfer policy between territories. It is not, therefore, a matter of judging the past with the eyes of the present. But to look to the future.

The Spain of the 21st century has to face the challenge of the digital and energy transition. And in both cases, the Mediterranean rail corridor is an emergency that cannot wait. The companies in that area have to connect with Europe in a competitive and sustainable way and that goes through a firm commitment to rail transport, especially merchandise, but also travelers. Reducing vehicle traffic is essential to meet emission reductions, but also to gain competitiveness and connectivity in times of globalization.

The Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs He has been leading this demand for decades, which has been supported by data, studies and reasoned and reasonable proposals. Its representativeness should be sufficient to sensitize the authorities, but also the technicians, of the State. This is not an autonomic tantrum nor of the territorial bargaining of a parliamentary group in the Budgets. It is a matter of State, of what kind of Spain we want to build. Rebalancing the territory is a principle enshrined in the Constitution, but it is also ensure progress and wealth creation, essential to distribute it later. We are not facing any grievance but rather an act of justice as defined by Aristotle: treating different people differently.


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