AT A public event that took place in Barcelona last week, Minister of Public Works, Inigo de la Serna assured all concerned that the budgets of 2017 have sufficient funds to undertake the works of the Mediterranean Rail Corridor this year, because they are already in the bidding or award stage.
‘No section of the corridor will be slowed due to lack of funds,’ confirmed the owner of the Fomento, after participating in the presentation of a study on the priorities of infrastructure carried out by the Government of Catalonia.
In Alicante, Fomento will only invest €2 million of the €715 million foreseen in the budgets for this year. The Xativa-Port of the Alicante section, for example, is still to be run at high speed and nothing is known about the intermodal station.
De la Serna indicated that whilst there are sections of the corridor that have not been budgeted for in 2017, this is because their development is at a very junior stage in comparison to the rest of the construction and these sections will therefore be budgeted for in 2018.
De la Serna confirmed that for those sections where development is at a more advanced stage, works will be put out to tender and contracted ‘with all the resources that are necessary’.
On the other hand, Spain and France have jointly launched a public tender to ascertain what interest there might be from private companies to participate in their ‘rail freeways’ project – routes for freight trucks to cross the Pyrenees on board trains.
The project, which has been in development since 2015, will see Spain and France link two motorways for trains between their territories, one on the Atlantic side, through Hendaye and another on the Mediterranean, by Perpignan.
The rail freeway project aims to decrease the number of lorries on the highways and to promote freight traffic by train. The two countries are now seeking to test ‘the market’s response, as well as the expectations it has for potential operations, its economic viability and its logistical and technological needs.’
Two public tenders have been launched – one to ascertain what interest there might be from the train manufacturers and another between companies interested in operating the highways.