BUD­GET GLOOM

Key projects such as Ali­cante-Elche air­port im­prove­ments and Benissa N-332 by­pass hardly get funds in 2018 bud­get pre­sented this week

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By James Parkes and Jo Pugh

ALI­CANTE prov­ince has been prac­ti­cally ig­nored in the 2018 bud­get pre­sented this week - although its ap­proval is far from guar­an­teed.

Key projects such as the ap­proved road ac­cess im­prove- ments to Ali­cante-Elche air­port or the much-needed N-332 by­pass around Benissa have been al­lo­cated only a small share of the funds they re­ally re­quire.

The Ali­cante-Elche ac­cess up­grade has only been al­lo­cated €2 mil­lion of the €30 mil- lion re­quired to carry out the works.

Min­is­ter Cris­to­bal Mon­toro, who pre­sented the bud­get on Mon­day (see page 23), has only ded­i­cated the sum of €3.07 mil­lion to­wards the new Benissa by­pass - the to­tal fig­ure esti- mated at €22 mil­lion.

The com­ple­tion date for the works, which are well un­der­way, is set for Fe­bru­ary 2020, but the piti­ful fig­ure al­lo­cated this year casts se­ri­ous doubts on that tar­get.

Now, with Benissa coun­cil’s 2018 bud­get for the road still pend­ing ap­proval, it ap­pears yet again that the com­ple­tion of the by­pass will be a dif­fi­cult af­fair un­less the gov­ern­ment dra­mat­i­cally in­creases the fig­ure next year

ne project that will be car­ried out is the build­ing of a pedes­trian bridge over the N-332 in Calpe, thanks to the mil­lion eu­ros al­lo­cated to the scheme in the bud­get.

Only €100,000 will be spent on fur­ther stud­ies for the GandíaOliva-Dé­nia rail­way, the so­called Tren de la Costa, while the Al­coi-Xá­tiva line gets no in­vest­ment what­so­ever.

Although as a re­gion Va­len­cia has seen its in­vest­ment bud­get in­creased - with im­prove­ments on ac­cess roads to Manises air­port in Va­len­cia and the Sueca by­pass - it is nowhere near the share it should be re­ceiv­ing ac­cord­ing to its pop­u­la­tion and share in the na­tional GDP, say the re­gional au­thor­i­ties.

Ali­cante prov­ince has the fourth low­est share of the bud­get in Spain, with only Almería, Navarra and Málaga get­ting less funds.

Some prov­inces are get­ting up to 16 times more than Ali­cante.

The av­er­age state spend­ing per res­i­dent in Ali­cante prov­ince is drop­ping to just €100 - €117 be­low the na­tional av­er­age.

Re­gional pres­i­dent Ximo Puig held a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day to present these fig­ures and pub­li­cally de­nounce that the state is ne­glect­ing Ali­cante and the Va­len­cia re­gion in gen­eral.

Ximo Puig point­ing out the fig­ures

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