Feck the billions spent on the AVE – we’ll turn it into a testing track

The Ave high speed train line between Almeria and Seville has been abandoned by both the central government and the Junta de Andalucia today, throwing away hundreds of millions of euros of taxpayers money.The central government officially renounced any plans to invest further money into the AVE Andalucia inland line, cancelling a projected investment of a further 280 million euros. This decision will stand until a new transport plan which is expected for 2016.

So far, 1337 million euros has been spent on this line.

Instead, the Junta has confirmed that the only bit that is built (between Marchena y Antequera in Malaga) will be turned into a testing line for new trains, despite the fact that it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything, so how do they get there?

The Junta can’t continue with the line – they had originally planned to spend 366 million euros on this 70 km bit of line, in a public private partnership. But not one single company bid on the project, and it’s collapsed now that the central government has withdrawn the cash.

The rest of the half built line will be abandoned until the end of the decade.

Well, this was the plan for the railway across Andalucia

This decision doesn’t affect the bit from Almeria to Murcia (which is already abandoned until 2018) but the inland connection which was supposed to connect Almeria Granada Murcia Seville. The bit that runs through Los Gallardos has cost the state anywhere between 800 million and 1,2 billion euros, depending how you count it.

This farcial plan is designed only to stop Seville having to return 270 million euros of EU money to Brussels – by giving the only bit they’ve built a “use” before 2015 they don’t have to return the EU money.

The central government has so far “lent” ADIF, the railways operators, over 14 billion euros which has been spent building high speed railway lines throughout Spain. In theory, this investment is supposed to be returned to the State over the next 40 years.

The Spanish railway network is dragging this country down: the highspeed railway network has received 700 million euros this year in the Budget, but still expects to end the year 300 million euros in the red.

The numbers are massive, and tend to change depending on which politician / newspaper you’re talking to, always a sign that nobody wants to talk about it.

El Mundo | La Voz de Almeria

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