SEPTEMBER 8 saw the formal inauguration of the final 1·9 km of Madrid metro Line 8 from Barajas airport to Pueblo de Barajas. Costing Pts4bn, this short addition completes the city’s 1995-99 metro expansion programme. Line 8 now runs between Pueblo de Barajas and Mar de Cristal, where passengers must change to Line 4 to reach the city centre.

The Madrid regional government is already pushing ahead with the 12 km inward extension of Line 8 from Mar de Cristal to Nuevos Ministerios, which will be in tunnel. There will be one intermediate station at Colombia to provide interchange with Line 9. Bids for the tunnelling work are to be submitted by October 21, and the regional government hopes to award a contract in November. Construction is expected to take around three years.

The city has allocated Pts40bn for the extension, of which 85% will come from the European Union. Construction of the line is budgeted at Pts32bn, and the remainder will fund a large underground terminal at Nuevos Ministerios which will provide in-town check-in facilities for airline passengers.

The regional government has approved draft legislation for the creation of a metropolitan transport infrastructure financing authority, which would be modelled on the national high-speed line authority GIF. Mintra would have initial capital of Pts1bn, and would be responsible for both metro and suburban rail projects. Early candidates are the Line 8 connection and an extension of Line 10 from Aluche to interchange with Metro Sur (RG 9.99 p556).