Opposition complains about railroad delays and only PAN calls for TGV tender in the next legislature

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The opposition was unanimous today in its criticism of the delays in the development of the railroad, with PCP and BE calling for transparency in the TGV project, and only PAN insisting that the tender should be left until the next legislature.

In the parliamentary debate organized by the PS on new rail links, in which the Socialists recommended that the government launch the tender for the Porto-Lisbon High-Speed Line by the end of January so as not to lose European funds, most of the opposition’s criticism focused on the time they consider to have been wasted by the current and previous executives.

“It has not been for lack of parliamentary support that this and other initiatives have not advanced, always promised on the eve of elections and always postponed,” criticized PCP deputy Bruno Dias.

Even so, the Communists advocate greater transparency in this high-speed project and the need to abandon the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, saying it is necessary to “learn from the bad experiences of these options”.

For the BE, Isabel Pires defended the fact that investment in the railroad should be a priority for the country, but considered that “for decades the option has been in the opposite direction”.

In a recommendation to the government, the Bloquistas call for the TGV project to be “considered in close coordination with local authorities and citizens’ movements” and for the value of the national rail pass to be reduced to 40 euros.

Inês Sousa Real, PAN’s spokesperson and sole MP, regretted that Portugal is the third European country that “has lost the most railroads in recent decades”, but considered that investment in the TGV cannot “be hijacked by a PS/PSD agreement”.

“We propose that the government ensures that the European institutions extend the deadline for the application so that a parliamentary majority can go ahead with the high-speed line in the next parliamentary term,” he said.

Livre’s sole MP, Rui Tavares, regretted that the parties on the right had not presented any legislative initiative in this debate “as if they had nothing to add on the subject” and challenged the PS to approve his recommendation calling for the resumption of night trains between Portugal and Spain.

For Il, leader Rui Rocha repeated in plenary the unequivocal support for the high-speed line that he had told journalists minutes earlier on the steps of the Assembly of the Republic.

“In a future government solution, IL will be the locomotive for rail development in Portugal and for high speed rail,” he promised.

The Chega party, through its deputy Bruno Nunes, has not explained its position on the high-speed rail tender.

With the new secretary-general of the PS, Pedro Nuno Santos, in the plenary session, the PSD took the opportunity to attack his reputation as a doer, with deputy António Topa Gomes questioning what he did on the railroad while Minister of Infrastructure, particularly in the district of Aveiro, where they were both elected deputies.

The Social Democrat MP recalled that António Costa has been Prime Minister since 2015 and the PS now wants to make believe that “30 days of PSD irresponsibility is enough for everything to fail” in the launch of the Porto-Lisbon high-speed rail tender.

“The PSD president’s answer is crystal clear: if it’s to avoid losing funds, the country wins by not delaying the tender,” he said, reiterating the position announced today by the Social Democrats to vote in favor of the PS resolution.

From the Socialist benches, Carlos Pereira accused the PSD of having “dismantled the railroad” when it was in power and stressed that the PS wants to move forward with “maximum consensus” for works of this scale, unlike what he accused the Social Democrats of having done when they privatized TAP in 2015 “at the 25th hour”.

In its reply, the PSD returned the accusation of closing “more than 800 km of railway line” to the PS government led by José Sócrates.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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