At the beginning of April the central government in Madrid passed the budget for road construction projects on the Balearic Islands. By 2014 the islands will receive a total of 514.7 million euros as part of the subsidy programme. The budget was finally passed after several years of negotiations between the central government, the regional government and the island councils.
Ibiza and Formentera’s share of the total budget will be 68.8 million euros. Following the announcement of the cabinet’s decision the Spanish government’s Vice-President, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega (Social Democratic Party, PSOE), announced that whereas Ibiza will have to wait until 2014 to receive its allotted 55.4 million euros, Formentera will receive the 13.4 million euros earmarked for its use over the next two years.
The Island Council of Ibiza was relieved and satisfied to hear the good news from Madrid. The councillor for mobility, Albert Prats (Eivissa pel Canví, ExC), emphasised that planned construction projects on Ibiza will also be developed, decided and supervised here on the island. “In the first draft of the budgetary plan Madrid wanted to assume responsibility for planning.” added Prats.
The authorities have already named the majority of the road construction projects that will be funded from the budget:
- Improvements to the highway to Sant Miquel. The lanes will be widened and strips of sand added. There is also talk of adding a separate cycle path. A project proposal has been submitted, however, there are a lot of questions to be answered before it can be accepted.
- Improvements to the highway to Sant Joan. This item is at the same stage of planning as the proposal to widen lanes on the Sant Miquel highway.
- Construction of an access road leading to the Ses Salines nature reserve. As well as wider lanes and separate cycle paths the construction project plans to lay new underground electricity and telephone cables. The project is still at the planning stage.
- Widening of the highway between Ibiza town and Can na Negreta. The plan is to double the number of lanes between the traffic junction at Jesus and the turning to Santa Gertrudis. Still at the planning stage.
- Improvements to the highway between Santa Eulalia and Sant Carles. The Island Council wants to improve safety on this 5 km stretch of road. However, there are no plans to double the number of lanes.
- Construction of a ring road in Ibiza town.Madrid will cover the costs of transferring the project from the Island Council to the municipality.
The project will also completely reorganise the traffic system with the introduction of new speed limits, car parks, pedestrian zones and green areas. The current opposition party (the Popular Party or PP) has expressed doubts about the cabinet’s willingness to honour the proposed budget.
The former Balearic construction minister, Mabel Cabrer, reminded us that the Balearic Islands are still waiting for funds that they were supposed to receive from the 1998 and 2004 budgets. “I can only hope that the government will keep its promise this time round.” said Cabrer.
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