THE CONTROVERSIAL Fuengirola to Marbella train line extension has received a boost after an influential Spanish association placed it top of their priority list, claiming it will save residents €295 million per year.
SEOPAN, the Spanish construction companies and infrastructure operators, considers the scheme to be among the most urgently-needed infrastructure projects in the country.
An entire page is devoted to it in the group’s latest report based on studies conducted in collaboration with international consultant Deloitte, among others.
President of the Association, Julian Nuñez, referred to the importance of the train for the development of the Costa del Sol at a Madrid conference attended by the Spanish Infrastructure Minister, Iñigo de la Serna, and executives from the country’s leading construction firms.
The SEOPAN document identifies 814 projects across the country which would require a €100,000 million investment and generate almost a million jobs, with the Fuengirola-Marbella line top of the pile.
Other suggested priorities include improvements to rail infrastructure in Barcelona and Madrid’s notorious ring road.
The coastal train route from Malaga ends in Fuengirola, but an extension to Marbella and Estepona has been discussed for years.
Estimates suggest that up to 100 million people per year would take advantage of the service should it ever be completed, a ten-fold increase on the current average of 9.6 million.
A lack of funding is blamed for the lack of progress, with a minimum €4.5 billion investment needed for the proposed 56-kilometre route, 90 per cent of which would have to be underground to keep it close to urban centres.