At the rate of current investment and contracting, it will be impossible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, according to data from SEOPAN, Association of Construction Companies and Infrastructure Concessionaires, who added that, in order to comply with said 2030 Agenda, it is necessary to invest, in the next ten years, at least 103,000 million euros (M €) in various priority areas for improving mobility, citizen welfare and sustainable development .

However, public investment in Spain remains at historic minimum levels, equivalent in terms of GDP to that of 1980, and with the lowest investment ratio in the European Union (EU). Despite the recovery of the public procurement of the Ministry of Transportation, Mobility and Urban Agenda in 2019, the volume contracted by our Public Administrations (AAPP) in 2019 is € 9,890 M, 42% lower than the one made prior to the start of fiscal consolidation in 2010.

To reach the SDG 3 “Health and Wellness” It is necessary to reduce injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents, which, according to the Spanish Road Association (AEC), are concentrated by 78% on conventional roads, implying a cost for personal damages of more than € 10,000 M /year. In this sense, and because the regulatory and innovation measures aimed at improving road safety have reached a ceiling, as reflected in the fact that the number of deaths on roads remains between 1,134 and 1,098 in the period 2013 / 2019, it will be necessary to invest in this infrastructure 2,200 million euros.

To get to SDG 6 “Clean water and sanitation” and end with 29 years of non-compliance with Directive 91/271 / EEC on urban wastewater treatment, € 3,506 M would have to be invested in wastewater treatment infrastructure, since currently, only 32% of our municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants It has tertiary purification systems and the sanctions of the European Commission (EC) since 2018 represent € 32.7 million. In addition, € 1,747 million in infrastructure is needed to improve water resources management in regulation and reuse, and protection of water ecosystems.

The SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” It is far from taking into account that in the 2008/2018 period the losses in water distribution have increased from 24% to 26% while the investment in the network has been reduced by 40% (data from the National Statistics Institute), that the deficit in road maintenance implies pavement deterioration in 1/13 km (data from the ACS) or that Spain has the lowest share of rail freight transport in the EU, only 1.7% of internal traffic, even this means of transport being 5 times more efficient than the other modes. Thus, € 2,898 M would have to be invested in improving the quality of the sanitation, distribution and water supply networks, € 7,000 M in road conservation and € 7,650 in regional and cross-border infrastructures for rail freight transport, ferro port connections and Logistics.

Similarly, Spain is far from reaching SDG 11 “Sustainable cities and communities”, since, according to data from the World Health Organization, several Spanish regions exceed annual pollution limits (NO2 and PM2.5) in addition to 22% of homes remain without purification services and 4% without health services sewerage. Despite the increase in the urban population, public investment in public transport has been reduced to zero-meter and suburban- and the annual costs of road congestion in Spain represent € 5,500 M. Likewise, we annually deposit 60% of our urban waste and rejections in the landfill, twice as much as the largest European economies, having been condemned by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the existence of 88 uncontrolled landfills, whose sanctions could exceed 50 € m. Given this situation, € 30,776 M should be allocated to expand public transport infrastructure, € 27,034 to improve mobility in urban and interurban roads, € 6,000 to create green infrastructure in urban areas, € 6,521 to reduce the impact of municipal waste and € 4,453 M in sewerage and purification services and improvement of regional interurban roads.

On the other hand, the SDG 15 claims to fight against desertification, drought and floods which, in the case of Spain, are the cause of the greatest natural disasters (damage to property, persons and financial losses amounting to € 5,320 M since 1981). In addition, 72% of the Spanish surface suffers severe water stress and 50% is at risk of desertification. Addressing these challenges would require € 2,910 M invested in infrastructure to prevent desertification and drought, and € 938 M in flood prevention.

According to Julián Núñez, president of SEOPAN, “The situation of spending and forecasts of our social agenda (pensions, health and education) does not allow to increase public investment by 40% to meet these objectives, so the only viable option is to recover the concessional model, in disuse since 2012, and to value the public assets that we have through the participation of direct users in their economic sustainability, in particular our road network, as do the rest of the countries of the European Union ”.

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