MÁRIO LINO, Minister for Public Works, has highlighted that the high speed rail link between Portugal and Madrid is considered by the government to be a very high priority project and one that should be concluded by 2013.
Described by Lino as fundamental, the train would allow the Portuguese to travel from Lisbon to Madrid in just two hours and 45 minutes. It is a project that has been put forward by the European Commission because, in its view, Portugal must participate in the major networks and Trans-European links.
The minister is in favour of the line being dual purpose, allowing the circulation of cargo trains as well as the high speed passenger train – the option preferred by Spain and announced in May by Lino’s counterpart, Magdalena Alvarez. It does imply more costs for the line and more maintenance, but, apparently, it is cheaper than building two dedicated lines.
A high speed rail link between Lisbon and Porto is among the other objectives of Portugal’s Minister for Public Works and should be incorporated in the overall European network rather than only being linked to the existing northern line – the policy of former minister, António Mexia.
It is also foreseen that there will be a station for the high speed link at the future Ota airport. The Ota airport project is due to be presented publicly in October and it promises to be a major event with many guests, including entrepreneurs from the banking and civil construction sectors.