The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torresdefends that the South train “is a necessary infrastructure” in the face of the “saturation” of traffic recorded by the island’s road network and because it “avoids consuming more land”. This pronouncement takes place in the middle of a political debate on the execution of this project promoted from the Council of Tenerife. “In any case, I respect the autonomy of each administration,” she added.
Torres Pérez supports the implementation of guided transport in the Canary Islands not only because of the small size of the territory, but “because it is an alternative response” to the problem of mobility and “because it can be sustainable”. “An infrastructure like that is necessary,” he reiterates in his 50-second speech on the matter in an interview on Radio Club Tenerife.
After claiming to be a good connoisseur of this project, he recalls that he amended the General State Budgets (PGE) 2011, being a national deputy. A fact that led to the appropriation of 10 million euros by the central government for the Gran Canaria and Tenerife train projects, at a rate of five million each.
From the island government, its president, Pedro Martín, is blunt: “The problem of connectivity that we have on the Island cannot be solved with a train.” He maintains that the Cabildo’s criteria in this matter “is based on an agreement of the mandate that left the train of the South out of the political debate.” Not so the Port of Fonsalía, the airports, the tram to Tenerife North, the Motor Circuit and highways, matters in which PSOE and Cs, as a government group, «we do not have any closed agreement with Podemos, but we do regarding the train. And we respect what we sign. I don’t change my mind as needed.”
the key study
Despite this, the insular president clarifies that “we are not closing any door, I do not deny any possibility.” At this point, Martín Domínguez points to the Insular Mobility Plan, in preparation, as the document that will define the transport system or systems to be used on the Island and in each area of Tenerife. “A study that tells us exactly the model we need” after an exhaustive analysis of all the alternatives. “From there, we will make decisions. I don’t think there is a single politician who knows enough about everything to know how to solve the connectivity problem that this Island has at this time.
The South train has a project, “but we won’t see it for another 30 years” because, among other issues, it lacks environmental assessments, “whose resolution will require years of paperwork”, there are no expropriations or acquired land “and there are opposing city councils as the route passes through its municipality, in addition to the fact that all institutions will have to contribute money, not only Europe, to reach the 2,500 million euros that it will cost.
Martín defends that “I always said that the train from the South is not a priority”, an argument in which he was reiterative during his time as mayor of Guía de Isora, as well. «Canarian Coalition, which spent almost 30 million euros on projects and furiously shouted yes to the train from the South, from the opposition has raised objections proposing to stop it, execute only the southernmost part or, as now, be fully in favor because it has seen the possibility of harming the insular government.
the third leg
On January 28, the Plenary Session of the Cabildo de Tenerife discussed the construction of the South train, following the proposal of Ciudadanos (Cs) that the Government of Spain include the project in the Railway Network of General Interest (RFIG). An initiative withdrawn from the agenda after Sí Podemos Canarias warned, in the event that the motion prospers, of the rupture of the agreement by which it contributes the majority to the island government from abroad. The fundamental argument is that in that pact with the Socialists and Citizens its construction is expressly excluded, as the president of the institution recognizes. At the time, in the Cabildo of Gran Canaria Sí Podemos supported a train project similar to the one it rejected in Tenerife, according to the pronouncements of political, economic and social leaders.
Mena: “The Hospital is the priority”
José Julián Mena, mayor of Arona, maintains his opinion regarding the construction of the South train: «Faced with the development of the train, the priority for the municipality and the region must be the public hospital, which has to be completed to improve care to our neighbors.” The Aronero councilor understands that this infrastructure “is being prioritized” on the political agenda, “when we should be focused on finishing once and for all what we have started and that is vital.” In this framework, he mentions the complete development of the hospital or health centers that are needed, which, in the case of Arona, are needed in Las Galletas and Los Cristianos. Mena speaks that “there are urgent actions that have been waiting for decisions for years.” In the context of mobility, he points out that «the key is in the accesses to Los Cristianos and Guaza, which must be resolved if what is wanted is to decongest the highway. They are cheaper and more sustainable solutions, without the environmental damage that the train would cause.” The mayor of Arona maintains that “it is also necessary to rethink the direct connection from the highway with the Hospital del Sur, as well as the proposal to bury Chayofita Avenue and its connection with the TF-1, in addition to the construction of a transportation on the first of these routes. He takes up the term “key” to specify that “by solving the mobility problem in Los Cristianos and the proper port-city fit, we will be addressing one of the obstacles that traffic currently encounters on the South highway. This is urgent”. From the Mayor’s Office of the third most populous city on the island and part of the epicenter of tourism and the island economy, Mena considers it “inefficient to plan a train that will take decades to complete, with a significant environmental impact and whose effectiveness is questionable.” He advocates evaluating the price policy of public transport from the Metropolitan area and its frequency, “so that its use is generalized.”