The ruling party and the bulk of the opposition they arrived at a agreement on the Chamber of Deputies to declare the emergency in public transport in the interior of the country and increase subsidies to 59,500 million pesos. It is an intermediate amount between what Together for Change and the federal blocs asked for and the possibilities of the national government.
In the Transport Commission, chaired by the radical Jorge Rizzotti, the Front of All and Together for Change reached a single opinionalthough there was no unanimity because a last-minute discussion about the scope of the emergency made Florencio Randazzo (Federal Interbloc) desist from accompanying.
As budget items are affected, the opinion now turned to the Budget and Finance Commission, a necessary step before the vote on the floor.
Originally, Together for Change, the Federal Interbloc -which includes schiarettism- and the United Provinces demanded to bring the Compensation Fund to 70,000 million pesos. It was a maximum bet to cover the costs of the system, especially those related to salaries and fuel, in a context of rising prices.
However, in crossed negotiations with deputies from the ruling party and also with authorities from the Ministry of Transport, An agreement was reached so that the increase reaches 59,500 million pesos. The Santa Fe official Eduardo Toniolli clarified that this amount is a floor and “not a ceiling.”
Although it is not the figure that the opposition expected, it is higher than the 38,000 million pesos set by the National Government last Thursday in the Decree of Necessity and Urgency that expanded the National Budget. It even exceeds the 46,000 million to which the Executive had committed itself at the beginning of the year.
the final project
The final text was completed during the meeting and consists of six articles. The first declares the “economic emergency” in public passenger transport for urban, suburban and interurban vehicles in the interior of the country “in order to guarantee the provision of services to users and the preservation of sources of employment”.
In fact, this implies a delegation of powers to the National Executive Power to manage the area. The emergency will be in force until December 31, 2022. That is the ultimatum that the deputies were set to discussin the remainder of the year, a new subsidy distribution system and the extension of the SUBE card to the entire country.
The opinion that was brought to the meeting indicated that the Ministry of Transportation “will be in charge of establishing the distribution criteria” of the subsidies, but that generated questions from the opposition. “We could have surprises in some jurisdictions,” warned Lisandro Nieri from Mendoza (UCR). Finally, it was agreed to correct the wording and to respect the current parameters.
On the other hand, it is noted that “The provinces and municipalities that adhere to the Compensation Fund must, together with the transport companies, implement the Single Electronic Ticket System (SUBE)”.
Likewise, the provinces “must continue to contribute to the transportation system (…) an amount that maintains the proportion that would have been verified by the contributions corresponding to the year 2021 between the contributions made by the National State for the Compensation Fund and the contributions of the local jurisdictions, ensuring the sustainability of services.
Finally, it is indicated that “jurisdictions must submit the returns of the funds received until the last business day of the settled month” for the purposes of payment “within ten subsequent business days.” And the Chief of Staff is empowered to reassign items to comply with the new amount of subsidies.
during the discussion an unexpected argument broke outsince within the declaration of the emergency it was included “intercity passenger transport under national and international jurisdiction”. As they argued in the Federal Interbloc, that addition had not been previously discussed and was not part of the agreement.
Who warned about this point was Maximiliano Ferraro from Buenos Aires (Civic Coalition). “Without wanting to break the agreement, I do not fully understand what is the real objective of declaring the emergency in long-distance and international automotive transport,” he questioned.
Ferraro warned: “The declaration of the emergency can enable the execution of emergency administrative contracts and that this leads to tenders or the extension of concessions. The emergency is an exception and a power delegated to the Executive. I would be more careful in the wording.”