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Between too little and too much

Opinió | 01/09/2009

Balance in decisions on infrastructures

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Pilar de Torres talks to Andreu Ulied on how decisions are made on infrastructures in the public sector. More negotiation, less execution. We continue with the book “The discontent of a small Europe”, in which the author speaks with various personalities on the mobility crisis and Catalan society.

It is very difficult to apply systematic economic assessment methods to the planning and execution of public infrastructures because of the need for consensus and to adapt to the social agenda. This is explained by Pilar de Torres, an economist and Director of IFERCAT (Railway Investments of Catalonia), the public company which plans, among others, Line 9 of Barcelona Metro. It is difficult, she admits, but the strategic debates should be reopened with a view to the future.

Pilar de Torres defends the viability of and the need for major investments in infrastructures. They generate activity and increase the productivity of companies, provided that they are carried out in a rational manner and taking into account the social and economic profitability that they provide. We should neither invest too much, taking resources from other spheres, nor stop investing and provoke a loss of productivity. According to De Torres, it is a much bigger risk not to make adequate infrastructures than to have to pay for them. Also in the case of the Metro L9, which will cost almost 7 billion euros.

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