The European Commission has announced that it will invest in the expansion of Spain’s high-speed rail network. EurActiv Spain reports.
The EU’s executive body will allocate €201 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help cover the estimated €286 million cost needed to expand the network to include the Galicia region.
The green-lighted project will connect the North-West of the country with the rest of the peninsula via Spain’s high-speed train, the AVE. Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cre?u, said she was “very happy” that the rail project had been approved.
The project forms a part of the TEN-T transport infrastructure network and complies with European directives that aim to boost to interconnectivity and competitiveness of the high-speed rail network.
The Commission highlighted that the main aim of the project is to benefit the people who live along the line and to reduce their travel times.
Brussels also added that the project is an example of an initiative that benefits both the general public an economic sector, while also ensuring sustainable and environmentally-friendly growth.
The project will be co-financed using funds from the 2007-2013 spending framework.
Spain’s large-scale expansion of its high-speed network has been criticised in some sectors for being unnecessary and lack of demand has been cited by the project’s detractors. Total expenditure on the rail network expansion will total €3.5 billion.
The TEN-T policy supports the completion of 30 Priority Projects, representing high European added value, as well as projects of common interest and traffic management systems that will play a key role in facilitating the mobility of goods and passengers within the EU.
- Spanish General Election 20 December 2015