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The PIIGS are possibly more reliant on road transport than average, something stemming from geographic location, inappropriate Urban Planning or both.

Or a historic lack of capital to invest in railways when they were fashionable. All those states invested in infrastructure when railways were silly socialism.

Ireland has a crappy railway infrastructure and really great social attitudes to use of public transport: Sam's colleagues in her more status conscious job used to be somewhat horrified that she commuted by rail rather than driving. We've upgraded the existing infrastructure,  but built relatively little - a light transit system in Dublin. There was far more rail fifty years or so ago.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 8th, 2010 at 08:30:40 AM EST
I hinted at this in my last log entry. Note though that Spain has been investing heavily on high speed rail in recent times, what the seems to be lacking in their case is the proper interconnection with France (the Pyrenees are cooperating on that matter).

Just by coincidence, the Spanish government announced yesterday a plan to invest 12 billion euros on railroads:

Spain unveils 17 bln euro infrastructure roadmap

 MADRID, April 7 (Reuters) - Spain unveiled a 17 billion euro ($22.7 billion) infrastructure spending plan on Wednesday, looking to attract private investment to boost its construction sector as it struggles with high unemployment and a huge budget deficit.

The government said 20 percent of the funds would come from the private sector and 80 percent from the Instituto de Credito Oficial (ICO), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and commercial banks.

Spain's largest public-private initiative ever will help maintain public works tenders without the government spending a cent as it cuts spending after its public deficit reached 11.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Thu Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:15:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 April

Spain hopes electric cars will help jump start future - Cars : europa, europe | euronews
Spain is revving up its green credentials with a plan to encourage electric cars. It wants to see a quarter of a million of them on its roads by 2014, investing 590 million euros in public funds.

Lower off-peak power rates and recharging points in homes, car parks and motorways are on the cards.


The socialist government has announced a 20 percent subsidy for electric car purchases, with a 6,000 euro ceiling. The prime minister unveiled the plan within the context of the economic crisis. Spain is one of the EU countries hardest hit.

by Fran

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 8th, 2010 at 10:40:14 AM EST
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As they have been presented by the auto-industry, electric cars do no look like an alternative at all. With two bananas on my pack pockets and 2 litres of water I have longer range on my bike. The figures given for the new Renault Leaf are simply hilarious.

But that's a story for another time.


by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Thu Apr 8th, 2010 at 12:15:02 PM EST
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Should not Italy have decent rail? Unified in 1866 when national rail was a typical unification, infrastructure and military project. And the fascists are famous for their propaganda about making the trains run on time.

Decay during the post wwII maffia period? Any of our Italian ETers that could enlighten us?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:49:12 AM EST
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it's really not that bad any more here in Italy, the trains are on time mostly in my experience, quite clean, comfortable, if blandly utilitarian.

ten years ago it was a national joke.

of course it may be due to the love affair between italians and driving that make the trains a passably relaxed experience, or maybe that the website for booking and getting schedules actually works and that frees up more staff to um, run the system.

before the net, it could take half an hour just to get through to a station master on the phone!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 12:22:20 PM EST
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