After years of living in the shadow of the AVE and suffering from budgetary straits, the Government intends to give an important boost to the Cercanías and conventional railway network. If the Socialist Executive manages to carry out its public accounts, investment in these services will increase by 160%, to 2,244 million euros. An amount, however, still lower than the one that will go to the high-speed network, which will receive 2,600 million euros, 2% less, according to the accounts presented today by the Minister of Development, José Luis Ábalos. The Ministry's budget project foresees an expenditure of 1,219 million for the conventional network, 732 more than in 2018; and 1,353 for Cercanías, 823 million more than last year.
The abandonment of the Cercanías and the conventional network has been evident in recent years with events such as the number of breakdowns that occurred in Extremadura or accidents such as a Cercanías train in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) in which 45 people were injured. The need to reverse what Fomento calls "abandonment" of these networks has led the ministry to consider this increase in investment that, paradoxically, will benefit from the AVE. As the construction of the high-speed network comes to an end, it is necessary to invest less resources in this service that can be allocated to others.
Fomento has raised, together, a very ambitious budget, with a real investment increase of 26.6%, to 9,973 million euros, the highest figure since 2013. It is an increase six times higher than the nominal growth of the economy that will bring the investment level to 0.79% of GDP. An investment with which Fomento hopes to "extend the economic cycle" and that, according to its estimates, will create 285,000 jobs.
As usual, the railroad, with 5,885 million euros, is the chapter with the most funds. However, the item that grows the most is housing, with 43.4%, up to 649 million. The bulk will be used to encourage rental and rehabilitation. For this, Development, through the State Housing Plan 2018-2021, will allocate 410 million. Housing is one of the priorities of the Government, which has raised a decree-law of urgent measures to encourage rent that now seems closer to its approval. Ábalos yesterday was open to find ways to limit rents, one of the requests of Podemos to support the decree.
Fomento also projects in its accounts a large increase in investment in road maintenance of 32%, to 998 million euros. A measure with which it tries to stop the conservation deficit that, according to the Spanish Association of Highways, reach 7,000 million.