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Old September 19th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #81
hkskyline
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Argentina delays high-speed railway
16 September 2008
Agence France Presse

Argentina is to delay construction of Latin America's first high-speed railway, due to budgetary concerns amid the depressed global economy, a government source told AFP Tuesday.

"The 2009 budget doesn't set aside sufficient funds for the project," said the source close to the project, who asked not to be named.

Work on the railway, which will connect Argentina's three largest cities -- Buenos Aires, Rosario, and Cordoba -- should begin before the end of the year, according to Alstom, the French rail equipment provider charged with supplying trains for the railway.

The government source indicated the project would be delayed until 2010 as there was no provision for it in the 2009 budget which went before lawmakers this week.

However, the head of Alstom Argentina Thibault Desteract told AFP that some 525 million euros of funding would be made available as planned in 2009.

"The national infrastructure agency has been given a budget of some 2.3 billion pesos (525 million euros) for the high speed link between Buenos Aires and Cordoba," he said, adding this had been confirmed by the government.

The consortium overseeing the project also includes Spanish company Isolux Corsan and Argentinian companies Emepa and IECSA.

The estimated cost of the total project is 2.4 million euros, financed by a 30-year loan from the French bank Natixis.
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 12:25 AM   #82
napoleon
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I found the first proposal of Argentine High-Speed rail project in 2005.

And now, this project stills delay.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 11:39 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Railfan View Post
Argentina AV

it is very beautiful. Congrats to Argentine. Wonderful development
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Old October 20th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Kuvvaci View Post
it is very beautiful. Congrats to Argentine. Wonderful development
Yeah, but... IS there any development? Judging from the press here in Paris (which has an interest due to the involvement of Alstom) the whole project has been binned. According to Le Figaro - which is close to the government, hence not unbiased - the Senora Presidente made a large budget allocation railway investments, which she used to reassure the increasingly skitty French that her intentions were firm and money was allocated to the project. Then, when protests mounted among dissatisfied commuters, she did a U-turn and said "...but I didn't say anything about WHAT kind of railways..." and reallocated the funds to renovation of existing tracks.

Can anyone confirm this? It is - in the words of Aaron Burr - "scandalous, if true".
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Old October 21st, 2008, 10:14 PM   #85
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Anyway, it seems that the bank Natixis will be unable to lend the money (about 70%) for this project, as it was suppose to do.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 10:38 PM   #86
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won't this project be real?
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:03 PM   #87
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Can any of the Argetinians on this forum please give an update on thsi project???
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 09:02 AM   #88
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Joop, I guess if you want an answer to that question you shall have to send a private message to AR1182, who was the Argentinian poster driving this thread. However, seeing as s/he seems to have lost interest I think the answer is a foregone conclusion.

As you're perhaps aware the financing of the project is in the swing: Alstom talked into the project with a "house bank" under its arm, the French Natixis, which has however been so badly dented by the financial crisis that it has indicated that it can no more lift the financing of the Cobra project itself. I'm not sure that this was the start of the problems, though. A month before Natixis raised its warning flag, this article appeared in the French press: archives.lesechos.fr/archives/2008/lesechos.fr/09/16/300293221.htm. In case you don't read French, it basically says that money that had previously been allocated by the Argentine government in its 2009 budget to the highspeed project has been re-labeled as "infrastructure investment" with no indication of what kind of infrastructure it will be spent on. In other words...

... the sh*thead commuters of Buenos Aires made so much noise that the Senora Presidente got scared and chickened out of Cobra.

Last edited by hans280; January 3rd, 2009 at 10:11 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 04:49 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans280 View Post
Joop, I guess if you want an answer to that question you shall have to send a private message to AR1182, who was the Argentinian poster driving this thread. However, seeing as s/he seems to have lost interest I think the answer is a foregone conclusion.
Actually I'm still very interested in the project, as seem to be the government and Veloxia. But there are no more news except their reassurances that the project, even though it'll have to be financed through other channels, is far from dead. Alstom's Philippe Mellier also declared recently that they were convinced construction would start in the next six months pending a new financing solution, which they see as a political matter. Meanwhile the government has agreed to extend the validity of Veloxia's offer for another 150 days.

The 2009 budget doesn't contain any specific allocation for the Cobra project, but it has an important allocation for the newly created rail infrastructure company, which is where funds for the first phase of the project would come from according to the Transportation Secretary. If this doesn't help the Chief of Cabinet still has the authority to reallocate budgeted funds or to assign exceptional fiscal earnings to spendings not contemplated in the budget.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 06:01 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR1182 View Post
Actually I'm still very interested in the project, as seem to be the government and Veloxia. But there are no more news except their reassurances that the project, even though it'll have to be financed through other channels, is far from dead. Alstom's Philippe Mellier also declared recently that they were convinced construction would start in the next six months pending a new financing solution, which they see as a political matter. Meanwhile the government has agreed to extend the validity of Veloxia's offer for another 150 days.

The 2009 budget doesn't contain any specific allocation for the Cobra project, but it has an important allocation for the newly created rail infrastructure company, which is where funds for the first phase of the project would come from according to the Transportation Secretary. If this doesn't help the Chief of Cabinet still has the authority to reallocate budgeted funds or to assign exceptional fiscal earnings to spendings not contemplated in the budget.
Thanks for the info. Keep us up to date on this interesting project, and let's hope 2009 brings some good news for it! While you're at it, are there any other interesting railway projects taking place in Argentina? I heard that money will be spend in order to bring Argentina's railway infrastructure up to standard again, but what will be happening in the comming years?
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:32 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR1182 View Post
The 2009 budget doesn't contain any specific allocation for the Cobra project, but it has an important allocation for the newly created rail infrastructure company, which is where funds for the first phase of the project would come from according to the Transportation Secretary. If this doesn't help the Chief of Cabinet still has the authority to reallocate budgeted funds or to assign exceptional fiscal earnings to spendings not contemplated in the budget.
Many thanks for these clarifications. I guess my main concern derives from confusion rather than derision: in my native Denmark, once an agreement is signed the government must honour it even if the cost goes through the roof and people torch cars (and railway coaches...) in the street. In some of the South European countries governments retain the option of positing "... in view of this extraordinary situation, the circumstances under which we signed the agreement no longer apply". For a brief moment I feared that Argentina would be found in the Latin rather than the Protestant camp.

OK, enough jokes. I would echo the questions raised by Joop in the previous posting. I have the impression that, under pressure from the mob in the streets, the Argentinian government has rushed to spend all available cash on commuter infrastructure in and around Buenos Aires. Wouldn't this apparent shift in priorities starve Cobra of funding?
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:42 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Joop20 View Post
Thanks for the info. Keep us up to date on this interesting project, and let's hope 2009 brings some good news for it! While you're at it, are there any other interesting railway projects taking place in Argentina? I heard that money will be spend in order to bring Argentina's railway infrastructure up to standard again, but what will be happening in the comming years?
A couple of weeks ago the government officially gave the final go ahead for the underground reconstruction of the suburban Sarmiento line. This project was supposed to have a similar financing structure than the high-speed train, but after the outbreak of the financial crisis they decided to finance it through pension bonds. This option might not be politically viable for Cobra considering the major public rejection this project is facing.

The electrification of the Roca and San Martín suburban lines have also been confirmed in spite of the crisis. Other significant works involve the reconstruction of the Belgrano Freight Railway in Northern Argentina and the construction of smaller urban/suburban railways in Cordoba, Tucuman and Salta, although construction of the latter two has not started yet.
Plans for another high-speed train to Mar del Plata and a high performance train to Mendoza have been postponed for now because of the financial crisis.

It looks as if the government, while firmly backing the Cobra project, is trying to avoid further criticism by keeping it out of the news, at least until other more popular projects are under way. It's quite sad that investment in already over-subsidized commuter trains is seen by the Argentine public as such a priority over modern and genuinely competitive long-distance trains, and that passenger trains as a whole are still conceived not as a potentially very efficient and comfortable way of travelling but rather as cheap (subsidized) transportation for poor people or backpackers.

Last edited by AR1182; January 3rd, 2009 at 08:51 PM.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:59 PM   #93
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Thanks again. Yeah, I see where you're coming from. It was exactly the same think in Denmark in my early youth: any government initiative that did not have as a main objective to redress societal injustices - real or imagined - was therefore and for that reason deeply suspect. I may even imagine...

...that the bad experience with public-private partnerships in the Argentinian infrastructure sector ten years ago may have something to do with the current controversy. As I recall, many of the foreign companies that, then, harped on their rights to raise user fees regardless of whether or not poor people could pay were French?
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 10:58 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by hans280 View Post
Thanks again. Yeah, I see where you're coming from. It was exactly the same think in Denmark in my early youth: any government initiative that did not have as a main objective to redress societal injustices - real or imagined - was therefore and for that reason deeply suspect. I may even imagine...

...that the bad experience with public-private partnerships in the Argentinian infrastructure sector ten years ago may have something to do with the current controversy. As I recall, many of the foreign companies that, then, harped on their rights to raise user fees regardless of whether or not poor people could pay were French?
The way I see it there has been for many years a missconception of passenger railways as inherently cheap transportation, and most Argentine governments have treated it that way: minimum investment, poor service and very high operational subsidies to keep fares low enough to attract passengers in the absence of other competitive advantages. While air transportation and freight and commuter railways were privatized in the nineties to cut public spending (the outcome of which is well known), long-distance passenger trains were simply split among the different provinces they ran through, almost all of which decided to eliminate them because they couldn't or didn't want to spend millions to keep them running. So in this case there actually never was any significant change of paradigm.

Today the public debate over the Cobra project shows that most people still expect passenger railways' competitiveness to be based primarily on low fares rather than on performance, thus neglecting all the advantages modern train stand out for in developped rail systems around the world (or rejecting them as "useless luxuries") and the fact that those advantages have attracted much more passengers and required proportionally much less subsidies than the dirt-cheap and hopelessly underperforming trains they have come to replace. The latter don't really seem to have been of service for the poor in the long term considering how holding on to them for so many years has actually led rail transportation as a whole to underdevelopment and obsolescence.

Last edited by AR1182; January 5th, 2009 at 03:31 PM.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #95
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Les deseo muchísimo éxito porque sé que lo pueden hacer. Este tipo de tren en mi opinión es necesario. Argentina va a crecer con este tren y espero que todo América del Sur les siga el ejemplo. No hay nada mejor que conectar un continente con un sistema de trenes para usar menos el avión.
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