TGV project: Algarve
Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

TGV project: Algarve “forgotten” yet again

Faro mayor laments politicians “only remember Algarve during summer”

The announcement of the new TGV high-speed railway which will link Lisbon to Porto in just one hour and 15 minutes has not gone down well in the Algarve.

Cristóvão Norte, president of PSD Algarve, and Rogério Bacalhau, mayor of Faro, have both criticised the region’s exclusion from the plan, lamenting that the Algarve continues to be “forgotten” by the central government.

“The Algarve and the south have once again been left out, remaining at a three-hour distance from Lisbon in the case of Faro, and even more from the Barlavento (Western Algarve) and four hours in the case of Vila Real de Santo António,” the regional delegation of Portugal’s main opposition party says in a statement to the press.

PSD Algarve also says that the “investments planned for the Algarve”, namely the electrification of the region’s railway, will not lead to shorter train trips for passengers.

“The country is going to shrink on one side, but not on the other. We are going to remain at the same distance from Lisbon and Spain, still with no decision regarding a (railway) link to the airport and with any logic of a regional intercity link which is necessary to revolutionise mobility in the region,” said Cristóvão Norte.

“The Algarve cannot continue being left out,” the former MP added.

Rogério Bacalhau also accused the government of having forgotten the Algarve “once again”, lamenting that politicians “only remember the region during the summer holidays.”

“It is good news for the North. Once again, for the South, there is absolutely no news. We’ll wait for next summer”, Rogério Bacalhau (PSD) told Lusa news agency.

As far as the mayor is concerned: “As a general rule, politicians, namely those from central administration, remember the Algarve in July and August, a time that has already passed,” and he repeated that the region “will have to wait for next year”.

“We are full of promises,” he said, listing some promises that have not been kept by the government, such as the Special Recovery Plan for Covid 19, the upgrading of the National 125 road, or the electrification of the Algarve regional railway line that runs from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António.

The local mayor said that those who travel to the Algarve and “have the capacity to make decisions”, go by car “and not by train”, adding ironically that therefore “there are no major problems”.

Rogério Bacalhau also said that, in order to meet environmental decarbonisation targets, there has been an increase in bus transport, which he considered to be a “contradiction”.

“Even the promise of a fast connection to the North we will see if it is fulfilled”, added Bacalhau.

By Michael Bruxo

michael.bruxo@portugalresident.com