Arriola convinced that the agreement with Brazil will be a business opportunity for Basque companies
An institutional delegation from Brazil has expressed interest in the Vitoria-Gasteiz tramway
The tramway was used by over 7.4 million passengers in 2011, 7.52% up on the previous year
At the Vitoria-Gasteiz tram garage, the Basque Government Minister for Transport, Iñaki Arriola, welcomed a delegation led by the National Secretary of State for Transport and Urban Mobility of the Government of Brazil, Luiz Carlos Bueno de Lima, which is visiting the Basque Country to learn about many of the Basque rail and tram services operate, the infrastructure work carried out by the Basque Government, through ETS, and to make contact with some of the leading Basque companies in the rail infrastructure construction, engineering and transport sector.
Arriola believes that the tramway model and specifically the one in Vitoria-Gasteiz is "exportable", given the success that the tramway has recorded since it opened, proof of which, he pointed out, are the more than 7.4 million passengers in 2011, 7.52% up on the previous year, which is a new record for the tramway.
"We are setting up a partnership between Brazil and the Basque Country, through Euskotren, which envisages our working together technically and our companies having the opportunity to take part in the future projects in the pipeline," he said.
According to Arriola, the fact that the Brazilian institutions, at a time when the country is busy embarking on major, fundamentally rail, projects, have taken the proven experience and technology developed in the Basque Country and particularly the Euskotren experience, is proof of the business and innovative level achieved by Basque companies.
"We are a real power both in terms of developing infrastructures and mobility equipment. We have proven experience in developing sustainable mobility and in developing and rail infrastructures. It is therefore a magnificent opportunity to be able to work with an emerging country that needs infrastructures and mobility equipment, and through Euskotren, we can coordinate that partnership that is, undoubtedly, going to be positive for the Basque Country," he stressed.
On the other hand, the transport system cooperation agreement between the Basque Government and Euskotren which has had to be postponed as the Minister for Mobility was unable to travel to the Basque Country, will be signed in the near future.According to Arriola, it will envisage business opportunities for Basque companies in the projects that this South-American country is going to implement over the coming year in the run up to the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
This agreement, which is the result of the institutional trip by Lehendakari Patxi López, the Basque Premier, to Brazil in March 2010, envisages EuskoTren working with the Brazilian Government over the coming years to set up different tram and rail transport services in major metropolitan and urban areas, and on restructuring and overhauling the current transport systems.
Projects in Brazil
The Federal Government of Brazil, many of its State Governments and different local councils plan to implement different tramway and railway transport services in its major metropolitan and urban areas.
Many of these projects are part of the run-up to the country's hosting two major sports events, the World Cup and the Olympic Games, in the coming years.
The Brazilian institutions are also focusing on meeting the urban mobility needs and on transforming some of the operational transport systems to tackle the modernisation process.
The State of Government of Brazil has thus developed the Major City Mobility Programme, within the Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC), which involves key investments in city mobility projects, with a special emphasis on tramways and railways. Basque cooperation in this area is considered to be fundamental to implement the projects, due to the technology developed in and proven track record of the Basque Country over the last twenty years.