Sunday, December 10

The Government and the PP communities clash over the amount to finance the reduction of the transport pass

Another political clash between the Executive and the communities headed by the PP. This time on account of how the discount on transport passes will be financed. A reduction that is scheduled for the last three months of the year and that has been the main theme of the Transport Sector Conference, held this Wednesday, in which the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and the councilors of the branch were present of the communities.

The Government lowers transport passes, gives aid of 200 euros to vulnerable families and will apply the tax to the benefits of electricity companies this year

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Within the plan of anti-crisis measures, to mitigate inflation, which the Government approved at the end of June, was the reduction of the cost of the transport pass. Specifically, the Council of Ministers approved a 50% reduction in the monthly transport bonuses in State infrastructures, such as the Cercanías. In addition, it added a 30% reduction for transport that depends on communities and municipalities, leaving it in the hands of these administrations to complete that figure up to 50%.

That 30% is direct aid, but only for those passes and multi-trip tickets that are sold between September 1 and December 31, 2022 and whose validity falls within that period. And that is where the communities see the planned funding as insufficient.

The Community of Madrid would take 80% of the financing

The Minister of Infrastructure and Mobility of the Xunta de Galicia, Ethel María Vázquez, has assured the media, after the meeting, that the Executive has only put on the table an aid of 100 million for the regional administrations and, of them, only the Community of Madrid would require 80%, he has criticized.

“Several councilors have raised doubts about the financial sufficiency of this measure. We also. The Community of Madrid has stated that we fear that the funds that the Government has prepared are insufficient. For the communities they have reserved 100 million euros and only the Community of Madrid, the 30% that they say they are going to cover, would already be 80 million. It seems difficult to me”, has indicated the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Community of Madrid, David Pérez.

“We wanted to see if they resolved our doubts. They did announce how many funds corresponded to each autonomous community but there has been no information. Things have not been done well. This meeting should have been held before announcing that measure and the calculation of the 30% that they have announced must have a commitment to cover it financially because, if it is less, we will be the communities that will have to pay for it and we have experienced this type of measure. that the Government announces and that we pay”.

A distribution of funds based on criteria of the pandemic

“We have explained what the criteria are to have quantified this aid at 200 million for the autonomous communities and town councils”, explained Minister Raquel Sánchez. In this sense, she has justified that these are the same application criteria that were taken into account when preparing the contingency fund to deal with the consequences of the pandemic. “That was a more favorable situation than the current one, we started from a situation in which the demand for public transport was higher than the current one and therefore, starting from that base, we understand that with this budget, with these funds, there will be a quantity enough to cover that 30%.”

“I would like to remind you that the powers belong to the autonomous communities and the town councils and what this Government wants to do is make a contribution to that bonus whose final recipient is the citizens. The criteria will respond to the needs. We have a few days to specify and outline the Ministerial Order, in which the details are finished, but we start from a calculation that is favorable for communities and municipalities.

In the text that Moncloa approved, within the new plan of measures in the face of the crisis derived from the war in Ukraine, it was stated that the global financing for the reduction of the transport pass would be through an extraordinary credit of 221 million euros, but it did not break down which part corresponded to each administration.

The new bus route map is a draft

Minister Raquel Sánchez has also defended the new approach to the concession map of the bus network. A new model that reduces concession contracts from 79 to 22 full corridors. Also, the number of routes is lowered from 966 to 510; and the number of municipalities with stops is cut from 1,912 to 495. This reduction would be compensated by the communities, to which funds will be transferred, so that they can design new routes based on their needs.

“There is no approved map. What we have done is a necessary review of the concession map and we have a first technical document, a draft, to be able to review that concession map together with the autonomous communities. It was not the subject of today’s conference, it will be dealt with in another and it will be reviewed trying to reach the maximum consensus”, the minister has indicated.

“We have given ourselves a long term, because it will be in 2024 when we plan to approve this concession map. I would like to and I have asked the autonomous communities to be rigorous. There is no definitive document. It is a draft and we are going to work with the communities with it”, Sánchez insisted.