Construction companies ask for future parliament state pact of infrastructures

Construction companies ask for future parliament state pact of infrastructures

The management of large construction companies and concessionaires Seopan considers a State pact on infrastructure matters a priority and urges the Parliament that emerges from the next general elections to agree on which infrastructures are priorities for the country and how to finance them.

"The consensus is the fundamental thing, a state pact is necessary, even for infrastructures that are not of its competence, because the State is the reference for the rest of the public administrations", said in an interview with Efe the president of Seopan, Julián Núñez.

In his opinion, the debate should not focus, as has been done until now, on what an infrastructure costs, whether it is expensive or cheap, but on what will be its impact on two variables: economic development and social benefit.

As an example, he recalled that investment in airports has increased the capacity of Spain to receive tourists and that the construction of highways and motorways has drastically reduced the number of deaths on the roads.

It is not about making plans at 40 or 50 years, since technology makes things change quickly. What would be "possible and obligatory" are ten-year plans (covering more than two legislatures) because the priorities "have no political sign" and an infrastructure is not better for one territory than another depending on who governs, added Núñez .

Once the priorities are set, the next big question would be to see how the works are paid, because, in his opinion, the scarcity of public resources can not be the excuse for not carrying out the infrastructures that the country needs.

In his opinion, without private collaboration, in a context of fiscal consolidation, with spending on social protection at historic highs and with health and education or innovation claiming more and more resources, "it will be difficult to increase" the investment in other areas, such as infrastructures.

"Public-private collaboration" in the construction and financing of works is absent since 2012, lamented Nunez, who has assured that in the world there are some 80,000 million dollars "with need to be invested in publicly owned infrastructures" that are not arriving in Spain because there are no projects on the table.

The president of Seopan recalled that there are two types of public-private collaboration, one in which the money is returned in installments via budgets, and another via canons or tolls paid by citizens for use.

In his opinion, there are works that for reasons of public interest can not be passed on to the user, such as the Cercanías or the metro, while in others, such as those related to the integral water cycle, the treatment of waste or roads high capacity, "clearly", should apply the payment for use.

In the case of high capacity roads (highways and motorways), he has advocated the extension of tolls to the entire network, because, in his opinion, this would equal the conditions with the rest of transport infrastructures, such as airports, railways and ports, for whose use taxes or fees are paid.

In addition, it is the model that is being implemented in the rest of the countries, according to Núñez, who underlined that 23 European countries have 100% of their high capacity roads and that 73% of freeways and toll roads Europe are in Europe.

The important thing, he underlined, is that the parties analyze what is the priority for citizens: that the one who takes the car does not pay for driving on these roads or to continue maintaining levels of social protection, education or health, according to Núñez, who has stressed that the toll roads provide some 940 million euros a year.

In a report, Seopan and Sener identified 814 priority infrastructure projects for Spain, which would involve the mobilization of 100,000 million euros and the generation of almost 1 million jobs.

In the document, they propose 510 actions worth 12,014 million euros, related to infrastructure of the integral water cycle; and 32 works with 6.522 million investment in environmental infrastructures, focused on the treatment of waste.

In land transport infrastructures, 272 priority actions valued at 85,244 million investment – merchandise and logistics, accessibility to cities, secondary networks, capacity management and urban mobility.

By Ana Tuñas and Cora Serrano


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