SPANISH Secretary of State for Infrastructure Albert Vilalta told the Parliamentary infrastructure committee on April 30 that 30% of the cost of building the high speed line from Madrid to Barcelona and the French border would be met by charging access fees for the first 20 years of operation. In addition to managing this route, high-speed infrastructure authority GIF (RG 4.98 p252) is also expected to take over responsibility for managing and maintaining the Madrid - Sevilla line under the 1999-2003 Contract Programme which Renfe is currently negotiating.

Vilalta assured the committee that transferring the Madrid - Sevilla route was far from the first step in the creation of a two-tier rail network where high-speed line would take priority over conventional routes. The infrastructure investment programme being drawn up by the Ministry of Development for 1999-2003 would tackle the whole of the national network, he said.

  • Public consultation has begun for the 11 km Gélida - Castellbisbal section of the Madrid - Barcelona high-speed line. The preferred option has been budgeted at Pts19bn and would see the route pass to the north of Martorell, following an existing FGC route that would be diverted to a new interchange with the Renfe line from Barcelona.