Spain unveils €5bn PPP programme

Investment to finance 2,000km of roads over the next four years, increasing sector spend by six times.

The Spanish government has revealed a road investment plan that will provide €5 billion to public-private partnerships.

Through the programme, funds will be allocated to develop more than 2,000km of road infrastructure over the next four years and will increase the current state spend on the sector by more than six times, according to the government.

While Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said further details will be released following consultations over the summer, 30-year concessions are expected to be awarded under a payment-for-availability format – a model the Spanish government said is being widely adopted in Europe, accounting for 90 percent of European PPPs compared with 5 percent 10 years ago.

On unveiling the new programme, Rajoy said he expects to secure funds from the European Investment Bank and the EU’s European Fund for Strategic Investments.

“The Extraordinary Road Investment Plan through public-private partnerships will allow us to fulfil this dual objective of investing in highways and remaining very strict in budget allocations,” he said. “It is a plan that will complement the annual investment envisaged in the General State Budget and will help us to further boost the economy and improve mobility throughout Spain.”

Spain’s new scheme has a similar name to the Extraordinary Infrastructure Plan, a programme launched by Rajoy’s socialist predecessors in government in 2010. The previous investment plan envisaged a €17 billion spend across the transport infrastructure sector but saw several projects fail to get off the ground due to budget cuts and the then-deteriorating Spanish economy. Two former government ministers at the time labelled it a “pseudo-plan of dubious financial viability”.