SPAIN: A programme to update the 2005-20 PEIT strategic infrastructure plan was launched on September 14 as Development Minister José Blanco addressed a conference in Madrid.

By the end of this year the ministry will complete an assessment of results so far, looking to publish a revised plan in December 2011 based on proposals from Spain's regional administrations that will be subject to public consultation.

Blanco stressed that efficiency would be the prime criterion for the selection and implementation of infrastructure investment projects. Another guiding principle would be the creation of a new economic framework for transport, based on opening up markets, use-based tariffs to gradually internalise external costs, and the creation of public-private partnerships.

Rail, and particularly suburban networks and freight, will continue to enjoy priority within PEIT, but in the current climate of austerity projects would be required 'to do more with less'. Upgrading existing infrastructure would take precedence over new construction.