Money’s tight. Despite the “recovery”, the Canarian Government doesn’t have the funds for a whole raft of projects, some of which have already cost millions to draw up, e.g. the southern train project (link). Regional public projects minister Ornella Chacón has told a parliamentary committee that the money just isn’t there, and that the train would not get regional funding, nor, at least at present, could the final section of the TF1 extension between Santiago del Teide and El Tanque, the so-called Erjos stretch, get off the drawing board.
Chacón said that the Government’s top priorities for Tenerife were the barranco de Erques viaduct and the repairs to the banking over the Bicho tunnel – in other words, to complete the Adeje-Santiago del Teide stretch of the TF1, and the Fonsalia spur motorway down to what will eventually be the new ferry port in the south. She stressed that although funds are being sent from Madrid for motorway works next year, they won’t be spent on a new stretch, and that such priorities were for the regional Government to set, not the Cabildo. The current funding arrangements with Madrid for public works expire in 2017, and a new formula will be drawn up then; this means that the Erjos stretch and the railway, at least, will not know before then if they can even hope to receive funding.
Tenerife president Carlos Alonso has responded by saying that the final stretch is not only economically vital for Tenerife, but essential to justify the latest Adeje and Icod stretches, which are part of what is, after all, meant to be a ring road on which enormous sums have already been spent, leaving just one final small link to be put in place. The same argument could be made over the train, but money is not just the solution, it’s also the problem, and the Government says there isn’t enough of it. So, although future projects like the final TF1 Erjos section and the southern train are not exactly pie in the sky, in terms of funding presently available or planned, they may as well be just that.