Continuing a long tradition of announcing “a new rail link to Faro airport,” the government has done it again, stating that the work will be part of its National Investment Plan 2030, with the civil engineering work taking place between 2021 and 2026.
Adept at announcing work that never starts, the proviso used the government is the old ‘environmental study’ chestnut, a study that it appears not to have commissioned.
Faro Council is naturally sceptical about the rail link, stating last week that it is unaware that an environmental study has been carried out as, if it had been, the Council would have known about it.
In January 2017, the Minister in charge infrastructure projects, swanned down to the Algarve and announced that the rail link to Faro Airport would be one of his priorities for Portugal’s railway network as long as the environmental study allowed its construction.
According to the government’s great new plan, the Faro rail link is part of a spend of €130 million for various road and rail projects, including a new rail link to Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto and sorting out the road access to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado airport.
The works will be financed by the State and ANA Aeroportos, according to the document but Faro’s mayor, Rogério Bacalhau, has been down this path before and remains unconvinced that the Faro airport rail link will ever happen.
Early in 2018, the vice president of Infraestruturas de Portugal, gave a cost estimate of between €25 million and €30 million for the rail link but warned that the environmental report would be key and that the Ministry of Infrastructure was to carry out the necessary studies.
With the government reticent to state whether or not it has commissioned or completed the environmental study, the Faro rail link dossier will be dusted off now and then, especially in election years, with no evident political will to join the Algarve’s airport to the Algarve’s railway line, a project that is not beyond man’s skill or intelligence level.