Spain is joining the ranks of several other countries by laying more high-speed capable track, paving the way for reduced travel time and improved infrastructure.
Last week in Madrid, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos opened a high-speed railroad linking Madrid, the Spanish capital and largest city, and Valencia, the country's third-largest city after Barcelona. The new track means Spain holds the crown of Europe's biggest high-speed rail network, underlining the extent to which infrastructure spending has been at the heart of the country's boom-and-bust economy.
The 242-mile link between Madrid and Valencia extended Spain's high-speed rail lines to slightly more than 1,240 miles. France has 1,178 miles and Germany has about 800 miles.
To achieve Europe's current high-speed rail gold standard hasn't been cheap, with the projecting currently surpassing $15.7 billion, including the construction of a handful of new railway stations - adding to Spain's acute budgetary difficulties, which have recently unsettled investors and sent its borrowing costs soaring.
Spain is also in cahoots with France over a new rail line that will split the Pyrenees mountains, a move that will eventually lead to a cross-border, high-speed rail link connecting Paris, Barcelona and Madrid.
China currently possesses the most significant investment in high-speed rail which will increase further when it plans to cover 8,125 miles by 2012 and 10,000 miles by 2020. Overall China will have 42 high-speed routes. In comparison, across the Atlantic President Obama has insisted the US will improve on its ailing rail infrastructure. However despite planned high-speed rail networks in California, the US will still lag well behind China and Europe.
Like this article? Get the RSS feed: