The Minister of Public Works (MOP), Juan Carlos García, has addressed the criticisms that the Santiago to Valparaíso train project has received from some mayors due to its route, and stressed that these are “presidential decisions”, according to Meganoticias.
“This is a presidential project that obviously arouses the interest of several mayors. We understand very well, for example, that the mayors of Casablanca and Curacaví are disappointed because the train does not go through that place or the mayor of Valparaíso, who in this first stage, the train does not reach Valparaíso,” the authority said.
The mayor of Curacaví, Juan Pablo Barros, a right-wing independent, had accused “discrimination and ideological prejudice”. Meanwhile, the mayor of Valparaíso, Jorge Sharp, also regretted that the train does not arrive directly at the port.
However, García said that “when we talk about national infrastructure projects, these are presidential decisions, that’s how it’s been in history and that’s how it’s been in this case.”
However, it did highlight “one important difference”.
“It is a project that unlike the others, who thought only of the starting point and the point of arrival, this is a project that will allow a faster path between the beginning and the end, as well as a local alternative that allows to strengthen the connectivity of cities such as La Calera, Limache, with the regional capitals, and which increases the number of passengers and social benefits”.
Generally consulted on the questions that the project has received, the Secretary of State said that “the train between Valparaíso and Santiago has been discussed for decades (…) and since there is a concrete solution, no doubt a debate begins, because it is a great project. The first stage is bigger than the Chacao bridge for example, so there are expectations and it was said that an hour and a half is not what we aspired to, we aspired to 45 minutes, well I tell you it is 30 years that we aspire to the realization of a project and for a reason it hasn’t happened”.
“The grace of this project is that it is becoming a reality for the first time, i.e. for the first time we say that the project is technically feasible, it is financially viable and it will be a reality in 2030.”
Instead, the minister defended that they will leave “a feasible project” and not “a piece” to subsequent administrations.
“We’ll bid during this administration, we all know these kinds of large-scale projects go from one administration to another (…) they’re long-term initiatives that aren’t government, they’re government projects, and we will not leave a piece to the other governments, we will leave a viable project that also allows additional infrastructure with these tunnels to shorten it to 45 minutes, when we can really make this decision after the first operational phase ”, he concluded.