Transport specialist Manuel Tá defended that the air link between Lisbon and Porto, with less than 300 kilometers, is “an environmental aberration”, which, in the case of TAP, is subsidized by taxpayers.
“How can we still have a public company that was nationalized, like TAP, which was rescued with funds from our public money and which maintains an environmental aberration, which is an airline between Lisbon and Porto, which has 250 kilometres? Deep down, we taxpayers are subsidizing transport that is, in itself, an environmental attack”, defended Manuel Tao.
The transport specialist from the University of Algarve spoke in an interview with the Lusa agency, regarding the National Railway Plan (PFN), presented in mid-November and which is currently in the public consultation phase, until February 28th.
Regarding the PFN, the transport specialist does not foresee that environmental problems will be a constraint for a significant part of that plan to become a reality. “In something like three decades, three thousand kilometers of new motorways were built and I don’t remember any kind of environmental problem in the construction of motorways”, he pointed out.
For Manuel Tao, the bet on the road, to the detriment of the railroad, in the last 37 years, since Portugal’s accession to the European Union (then European Economic Community), was “a big mistake of the political class” in the Government.
“[Os governantes] confused an American model with the European model, that is, [entenderam] that what would be a mobility guaranteed by the private car had the virtuosity of having effects of economic growth and development of the territory that it really did not have. What we are today is practically a road country. We are completely dependent on a resource that we don’t have, which is oil,” he pointed out.
According to the expert, what the State pays every three years to public-private partnerships for motorways is equivalent to a high-speed rail line from Lisbon to Porto.
On the contrary, he exemplified, Spain, which joined the European Union at the same time, built “more than 4000 kilometers of new railway lines”.
With that investment, connecting Madrid and Barcelona, which are about 600 kilometers apart, no longer means eight and a half hours by train, but takes just over two hours.
“We are, in fact, on a completely opposite path to what is the European and European Union paradigm of decarbonisation, of alleviating another type of negative effects of air transport and road transport in terms of congestion, or in terms of accidents”, he added. Manuel So.