SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Oct 20 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing of the Government of the Canary Islands will entrust the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF) and the universities of La Laguna (ULL) and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) with four reports to carry out a complete evaluation and independent of the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of all the alternatives that have been put on the table to decongest the port of Los Cristianos.
The Area Councilor, Sebastián Franquis, made this announcement during a commission held in the Parliament of the Canary Islands, where he explained that it is a commission with which the agreement adopted with the Cabildo of Tenerife last September to to truthfully and conclusively evaluate the options to improve the island’s maritime connections with La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, among which is the construction of a new port in Fonsalía, in the municipality of Guía de Isora.
These are four independent evaluation studies that should be completed in the first quarter of 2022 and that should clearly expose the real situation and the best options to be undertaken by the administrations involved. In this way, an analysis of the cost / benefit of the alternatives already identified to the new port of Fonsalía will be commissioned (it will be in charge of AIReF), a report on alternatives to sustainable mobility in Tenerife (ULL and ULPGC) and a fourth report that will be carried out technicians from the Ministry itself and which will consist of a preliminary draft of the actions to be carried out to expand the facilities and improve the entrances and exits of the port of Los Cristianos, in case this alternative is finally chosen.
“I believe that the matter is of such importance that it requires these reports of this nature, as had not been done previously. We have turned to independent, public institutions, to give us the majority of sufficient data to make the most convenient decision based on to the general interest, which is none other than the general interest of Tenerife and the green islands “, said the counselor.
Sebastián Franquis has stressed that the final alternative should improve mobility and increase capacity with respect to the current situation, allowing a greater volume of traffic of people and goods, as well as improving the quality of mobility between islands with minors. Travel and waiting times, all in a smart and sustainable way.
The Councilor Franquis and the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín, agreed in September to maintain a common and consensual line of action to promote all the necessary actions to improve the maritime connectivity of this island while respecting the environmental values of the coastal and maritime insular territory, harmonizing its development in an intelligent and sustainable way.
To achieve this, the Government and the Cabildo identified a series of alternatives on which these studies will now be commissioned, prioritizing investments based on their social utility, their greater environmental value and their contribution to the achievement of climate objectives.
“The objective of the Government and the Cabildo of Tenerife is none other than to provide the best response to the deficiencies of the port of Los Cristianos, improving current and future connectivity needs,” assured Sebastián Franquis. “But if we want to favor the rational use of resources and accountability to citizens, we must determine whether the social benefits that the construction of a new port in Guía de Isora would generate are sufficient to offset the cost of the public resources that are going to be used and the costs measured in environmental values, of the coastal and maritime island territory; it is also about evaluating if there are no better alternatives to the new port with greater social profitability and better environmental sustainability “, he added.
COST / SOCIAL BENEFIT.
In this way, the Ministry will entrust AIReF with the analysis of the social cost / benefit of each of the aforementioned alternatives. Sebastián Franquis recalled that the planned investment for the Port of Fonsalía project reaches 200 million euros, so it is essential to have a solid analysis to ensure that only the alternative that generates the greatest social welfare is finally carried out, without by a pre-established conditionality, benefits are overestimated and costs are underestimated.
The Government of the Canary Islands also wants to involve Canarian universities in a preliminary study and that is why it will entrust the University of La Laguna (ULL) with an evaluation of alternatives, since it has a research group specialized in transport economics and in evaluating public policies. promoting sustainable mobility. In this sense, the ULL will be entrusted with evaluating the alternatives in terms of improving mobility and the environmental, social and economic impacts generated in each alternative.
A third report will include the previous evaluation of the environmental impact on the marine and coastal environment of the alternatives of the Fonsalía port project to be carried out by the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change (IOCAG) of the Faculty of Marine Sciences of the ULPGC. Given that the alternative to be executed has not been chosen, we would not be talking about an environmental assessment itself, but it is convenient to carry out a prior analysis of the environmental impact of each alternative in the maritime and coastal environment.
The IOCAG has a solid and experienced team of scientists and professors working in the field of marine sciences who will carry out the evaluation taking into account the aspects or components contemplated in the environmental legislation.
A fourth report will consist of a basic preliminary project for the expansion of the port of Los Cristianos and the improvement of its accesses. This report is a priority since it is essential to be able to make a comparison with the rest of the proposed alternatives. In this way, the Ministry will instruct its own technical team to carry out a basic preliminary project so that within two months the fundamental aspects of the work that could be carried out will be available. Preference will be given to this preliminary draft in order to be able to deliver it and make it available to AIReF and the two Canarian universities in the shortest possible time.
Finally, the counselor Franquis also informed that a working group that includes the Canary Islands Government and the Cabildo de Tenerife together with the shipping companies and the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be set up to address the actions to be carried out to improve access and the port services offered in the port of Los Cristianos.
“I believe that we have addressed the problem, and we have done so with the agreement of the Cabildo de Tenerife, not only in establishing the four alternatives but also when ordering these reports so that, around the month of March, they are finished and starting Hence, make the most appropriate decision from the economic and social, mobility, environmental point of view, in short, from the general interest point of view, and to definitively solve the mobility and traffic problems that the world has today. Puerto de Los Cristianos and the island of Tenerife with the rest of the islands of this province “, concluded the counselor.