Train Extension Debate Continues On Spain's Costa del Sol

Train Extension Debate Continues On Spain's Costa del Sol

Spain's central government has called a meeting to discuss the prospect of extending the Malaga - Fuengirola coastal train line further along the western strip of the Costa del Sol to Marbella, Estepona and even beyond.

It will be the first gathering between central government, the Junta de Andalucía regional government, Diputación de Málaga provincial authority and Costa del Sol mayors on the issue which has been a hot topic, especially since 7 June, before the European elections, when officials rectified its position on the train line debate and announced it would discuss the issue with local institutions.

The meeting will take place on 17 July in Malaga, with a time and place still to be decided. Minister for development Rocío Díaz, Malaga mayor Francisco de la Torre, Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz and provincial authority president Francisco Salado have been invited. The announcement was made this Wednesday on the radio station SER (later confirmed by SUR), although this newspaper can reveal official invitations have not yet reached the offices of some of these leaders.

Spain's ministry of transport said "Malaga and the Junta already know the date", and the local administrations will certainly include the Diputación and the mayors of Malaga and Marbella. As for the rest of the affected municipalities, especially Estepona, whose mayor, José María García Urbano, is particularly involved in the cause, the ministerial spokesman said they are open to reaching a consensus on a list, which is already being discussed with the Junta. "When the list is ready, they will be notified."

Secretary of state for transport José Antonio Santano will chair the meeting, while the ministry of public works of the regional government will co-chair.

The ministry of transport intends to discuss with the other administrations the social, economic and environmental viability of the project, based on the population that would be served, where there is no doubt there would be a strong demand; the cost and its environmental impact.

Ministry officials consider the document prepared by the ARCS consultancy firm for Malaga city hall, the provincial authority and Unicaja, which has served as the starting point for this movement, is "insufficient", and this first meeting aims to achieve a greater level of detail, and to agree on the necessary studies.

Petition for the coastal train

The demand for the project is evident, particularly following SUR's launch of a petition for the extention of the train line along the Costa del Sol. The campaign launched on 10 June, just after the European elections, has already reached 26,000 signatures, and continues to grow.

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