TGV Lisbon-Madrid going via Porto “is irrelevant” if it takes less time


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The president of the Vale D’ouro Association, Luís Almeida, told reporters today, defending his high-speed rail proposal that a service “passing through Porto to reach Madrid is irrelevant” if it is faster.

“The fact of having to pass through Porto to get to Madrid is irrelevant if that is less travel time. When we look at a transport system, we have to look from point A to point B as quickly as possible,” Luís Almeida told reporters today at the end of the conference “Which railroad for the northern region?”, held today in the northern section of the Order of Engineers, in Porto.

Luís Almeida argued that “once and for all” the country must “stop having this kind of regionalist thinking”, because “it is too small for that.

“There is no hint of regionalism here, what is at stake is the interest of the country. If from Lisbon, for some reason, to get to Madrid faster, I have to go through Oporto, what’s the problem?”, he questioned.

At issue is a proposal by Associação Vale D’Ouro, based in Pinhão (Alijó, municipality of Vila Real), to make the high-speed rail link in the northern international corridor run north of the Douro River, rather than south, and reach Spain via Trás-os-Montes, passing through Amarante, Vila Real, and Bragança.

Besides the passage through Porto of the Lisbon – Madrid connection, the association argues that “the solution for Trás-os-Montes implies an investment of 40 kilometers that, at the outset, will always be easier to convince Spain to make, in quotation marks,” to connect to the Spanish network in Zamora, even with recourse to European Union cross-border funds.

Also for the president of the regional section of the North of the Order of Engineers (OE), Bento Aires, the option for Trás-os-Montes “is an option that should be considered without any regionalist pruritus.

Bento Aires recalled that the population of the North has “no problem in taking a flight via Lisbon”, saying he is sure that “most Lisboners don’t have to have it because they fly via Oporto”.

Luís Braga da Cruz, former president of the Northern Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), saw the “great advantage” of the short connection to Zamora, in Spain, as being “much less obligatory than in other parts of the country.

“So that can objectively translate into higher and more convenient service levels. I think the final decision has to consider all these aspects,” he told reporters.

Also present on the occasion, the Mayor of Bragança, Hernâni Dias, said that “there should be” a greater involvement of the mayors of the Metropolitan Area of Porto (AMP) in the defense of this solution, to “ensure the cohesion” of the North and “defend the interests of the entrepreneurs themselves” of the region.

The National Railroad Plan is under public consultation until February 28.

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