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Not so rational decisions

Opinió | 31/07/2009

The reasons behind infrastructures in Spain

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Andreu Ulied explains the debate maintained at a round table in Madrid on infrastructures and their planning. This is another chapter from the book “The discontent of a small Europe”, in which Ulied speaks with various personalities on the mobility crisis and Catalan society.


The civil engineer Andreu Ulied was dumbstruck when the Minister of Transport stated at a round table that the investments in high-speed railways were like buying a grand piano: if at home the children see it from when they are young it is very possible that they will learn to play the piano. This simile reveals the state's policy on investment in infrastructures. With 118 billion euros available since 1986 thanks to Europe, the construction of infrastructures has been used as an economic driving force with immediate effects, in a Keynesian style, too often sacrificing adequate planning which would result in greater productivity.

The truth is that, according to Ulied, the cost of construction, maintenance and operation of each infrastructure project is not public in Spain. And the benefits or the positive and negative effects are not calculated in a scientific manner either. Another of the guests at the round table defined it in a simple manner: building for the sake of building means “feast today, famine tomorrow”. The European manna runs out in 2013.

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