Public Works Minister, José Blanco, the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Philippe Maystadt, and the Chairman of Adif, Antonio González Marín, have signed in Madrid a Framework Agreement under which the EIB plans to provide for 5,000 million Euros in financing for projects to construct Spain’s high-speed rail network.
At the signing ceremony where State Secretary for Planning and Infrastructures, Victor Morlan was also present, the Minister declared that the agreement would give “a major boost to the expansion of the high-speed network in Spain”.
José Blanco remarked that “once again, the European Union is playing a leading role in favour of the progress of our country”. He thanked the EIB for its “commitment to Spain, and especially to its high-speed rail network” and expressed his confidence that this cooperation would “continue to bear fruit in the future”.
Mr Blanco also upheld the importance of expanding the high-speed network in Spain, saying that “high-speed rail plays a vital role in promoting progress in any country by contributing to sustainable development and land vertebration” he stated.
The Agreement establishes that the projects to be financed by the EIB will be carried out during the period 2010 to 2015 and will include the following infrastructures: the Madrid-Badajoz (line towards Lisbon), Madrid-Alicante-Murcia and Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria high-speed lines, enlargement of Madrid’s Atocha station, a new tunnel for high-speed use connecting Madrid’s Atocha and Chamartín stations, construction of the third and fourth tracks on the high-speed section between Torrejón de Velasco and Madrid, and the high-speed Valladolid-Galicia line. These are priority projects for both the Spanish Government and the European Union.
This Agreement is the third of these characteristics, following those signed in 2002 and 2006, both of which were for 10,000 million Euros and have been successfully carried out.
In recent years, Spain has been the EIB’s largest borrower in terms of volume of operations: 8,573 million Euros in 2008 and 37,725 million Euros in the period 2004-2008.
Through this agreement, the Ministry of Public Works can apply for different loans, during the validity period of the line (2010-1015), in order to finance specific high speed lines construction projects, included in the development plan for high speed railways, currently being set up in Spain.
The Infrastructure and Transport Strategic Plan (PEIT) foresees that Spain will have a 10,000 kilometers network of high speed railways by 2020, although next year, after the opening into service of the high speed line towards Valencia, Spain will be the first country in kilometers of high speed railways in service worldwide .
According to the State General Budget (PGE) for 2010, Spain will invest 5,400 million Euros on high speed lines during next year, out of which 4,800 million will be carried out by the Infrastructure Manager (Adif).