The Government intends to continue with its program of heavy investment in this area in the future, as is borne out by the Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan, which plans to make a total investment of over €248 billion in the period 2005-202010. In this regard, with accumulated investment of over €62 billion, more than 25% of the Plan has been executed in the 4 years that it has existed, thereby exceeding its objectives both in terms of the total executed and the percentage of GDP of such execution. Railway transportation takes center stage in the Plan, accounting for almost 50% of the total investment.
The motorway and dual carriageway network, of nearly 14,000 kilometers, has undergone constant renovation with a view to enhancing its efficiency. The Government’s investment package means that Spain will be able to call on a wide-reaching motorway and dual carriageway network, granting direct access to all Spaniards and meaning that 94% of the population is never more than 30 kilometers from a high capacity road. With this in mind, 1,500 kilometers of motorway are expected to enter into service during the period 2008-2012, with work underway on a further 1,600 kilometers. According to data as of March 31, 2009, 1,564 kilometers of motorways and dual carriageways are under construction or under tender.
As far as railway transport is concerned (where Spain has a network of over 15,000 kilometers), highspeed networks have become one of the top priorities in the Government’s infrastructure plans, with plans for a 10,000 kilometer network by 2020. Consequently, all Spanish cities will have direct access to the network, and 90% of the country’s citizens will be less than 50 kilometers away from a station on the network. In this regard, at the outset of 2008, the number of provinces already benefiting from the existing high-speed infrastructure was 33, covering 63.8% of the total surface area of Spain and some 73% of the country’s total population.
Moreover, Madrid will be connected by high-speed train to the French border, via Zaragoza (Aragón), Barcelona (Cataluña) and via Vitoria and Irún (the Basque Country). As things stand, Madrid already has high-speed train connections to numerous Spanish cities via the following lines: 1) Madrid- Seville; 2) Madrid-Zaragoza-Huesca; 3) Madrid-Zaragoza-Camp de Tarragona-Barcelona; 4) Madrid- Malaga; and 5) Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid. In addition, as of March 31, 2009, 2,199 kilometers are under construction or under tender, thus enabling 1,300 kilometers of high-speed lines to be put into service during the 2008-2012 period, including the high speed Barcelona-Gerona, Madrid-Valencia and La Coruña-Pontevedra-Vigo connections, to name but a few.
Finally, it is worth noting the freight sector liberalization since January 2005, which has led to the creation of private enterprises that transport goods by railway. The ultimate aim is to encourage the transportation of goods by railway in general, with a view to reducing the costs of the Spanish industrial sector, increasing the energy efficiency of transportation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Air transport links up the main Spanish cities and, with approximately 250 airlines operating out of the country’s 49 airports, Spain is connected to the world’s leading cities. Spain is a major hub for lines linking the Americas and Africa to Europe. Thus, the most significant investments in the pipeline are aimed at the two principal international airports in Madrid and Barcelona. With the inauguration of Terminal 4 in February 2006, Madrid’s airport saw its capacity increase to 70 million passengers per year, having been recognized in 2008 as the world’s eleventh largest airport (by passenger footfall) by the Airport Council International. Elsewhere, investment in the Barcelona airport will enable capacity to be increased up to 70 million passengers per year. In line with the 2005-2020 Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan, the “Plan Canarias” has been launched, paving the way for an investment of almost €3 billion in Canary Islands airports11.
Furthermore, with over 53 international ports on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, Spain can boast excellent maritime transport links. The Strategic Infrastructure and Transport Plan forecasts an increase of up to 75% in the capacity of Spanish ports, cementing their position as intermodal hubs by 2020. Specifically, during the period 2008-2012 it will increase in the capacity of sheltered water, docking space and land surface area by 7, 26 and 30%, respectively. In addition, 2009 will see the startup of the first two Seaside Motorways between the ports of Algeciras, Vigo and Gijón, and those of Nantes-Saint Nazaire and Le Havre in France. Negotiations have begun with the Italian Government for a similar process. This will permit a more sustainable alternative in some of the main flows with the EU.
In addition, with a view to improving the competitiveness of ports, the Spanish Parliament is working on a new Ports Law that will reduce restrictions on inter- and intra-port competition. Spain is well equipped in terms of technological and industrial infrastructure, having seen a boom in recent years in technological parks in the leading industrial areas, as well as around universities and R&D centers. There are currently 79 technological parks12 (32 of which are now fully operational) housing over 4,500 companies, mainly engaged in the telecommunications and IT industries, in which a large number of workers are employed in R&D activities.
€9,271 million has been budgeted for R&D&I for 2010.
As mentioned before, with a view to achieving new goals, the government has created the new INGENIO 2010 Program.
Spain can also boast a solid telecommunications network, with an extensive conventional fiber optic cable network (64,000 km) covering the country almost in its entirety, on top of one of the world’s largest undersea cable networks and satellite link-ups spanning the five continents. Particularly noteworthy is the significant deregulation set in place some years ago in the majority of industries, the telecommunications industry included, meeting the deadlines set for such purpose by the EU with ease. Among other advantages, this deregulation has meant a more competitive range of products on offer as borne out by costs, essential for economic development.
Last, it is worth noting the significant investments made in hydraulic infrastructures, which have improved the possibility of guaranteed water availability.