OPPOSITION politicians have slammed Madrid’s decision to give little more than 400 euros per person for Granada in next year’s budget allowance – 250 euros less than the national average.

The PSOE socialist government has earmarked 343 million euros for Granada in 2007 – the majority of which will be spent on the transport infrastructure of the province. This is an increase from last year’s 307 million euro budget allocation.

However, it falls short of the national average of 657 euros per person.

Forty million euros will be spent on the A7 Mediterranean Highway with 30 million euros of this going on the La Herradura – Taramay stretch. Six million euros is to go on the A44 Motril – Bailén motorway and three million on the second Granada ring road.

The government will spend 90 million euros on the high speed AVE rail link between Granada and Bobadilla.

But members of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) claim Granada needs two billion euros more over the next five years to complete the 100 major projects currently underway or planned throughout the province.

“This is more of the same for Granada. Projects like the AVE high speed link will remain paralyzed by this lack of real investment,” said Sebastián Perez, president of the PP in Granada.

He also criticized the difference in investment between the Granada province and Málaga, which will benefit from a billion-euro cash boost in 2007.

“Almost as much money is being spent on Málaga airport [330 million euros] than the whole of our province,” he said.

Fernando Egea, the Partido Andalucista candidate for the mayoralty of Granada city at next year’s elections, claimed the figures given by Madrid do not correspond to the true investment the province needs.

“Why is only a small amount being spent on the second Granada ring road? The money the government is giving to the province does not reflect the amount we need.”

Manuel Pezzi, the PSOE Granada representative, defended the government’s budget announcement: “All the important infrastructures for Granada are reflected in this budget. We are fulfilling our electoral promise.”

Money has also been earmarked for construction work at the Port of Motril (ten million euros), the Federico Garcia Lorca Granada-Jaén airport (nine million euros), the Rules dam near Salobreña (322,640 euros) and hydraulic work in the Guadalquivir basin (more than one million euros).

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