Ester Capella: “The solution for the airport lies in its governance”

He assumed the Territori portfolio, after the Government's remodeling last June.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 September 2023 Saturday 10:23
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Ester Capella: “The solution for the airport lies in its governance”

He assumed the Territori portfolio, after the Government's remodeling last June. In the year and a half that remains in office, he places the Housing Law as a priority. This week he met with the acting Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, to address the financing agreements for works and little else.

The PSC regrets the slowness in issues such as the airport. Is there reason to complain?

No. It was said that the solution would be at the end of the year and intense work is being done on different options. We place emphasis on the country's airport system and the governance of Barcelona airport. For the Generalitat, governance will be decisive.

Do you want a model similar to the one in the port?

We can go further. Governance is key for many reasons. What is happening in Spain is a historical anomaly. We must have all the necessary tools for the Catalan airport system to allow the country to take off.

Are you considering the proposals that civil society has contributed?

Everyone says things and wants to position themselves, but some proposals have not reached the councilor's table. Our solution is to preserve natural spaces and governability, having more intercontinental flights depends on it.

Will there be a solution in three months?

Yes. Three months in politics is an eternity. Look at everything that has happened in the last three...

What is a priority: governance or infrastructure?

Governance is the key. Without governance, we cannot talk about anything else.

Is that going to be incorporated into the investiture negotiation?

Everything can be incorporated. The government has known perfectly well what Catalonia's demands are for a long time.

Another aspect of the budget pact is the fourth belt, what will it end up being?

It will be the Terrassa Sabadell connection, as established in the protocol signed in July. The ministry is the one who has to design and execute it. I would say that it is the greenest agreement of those derived from the budget agreement. In a month we will have the drafting of the rest of the agreed agreements and they must be signed before the end of the year. The most advanced are those that affect the N-II, the N-260, the accesses to the AP-7 and AP-2 and the interchanges, because they came from before.

Claim the governance of the airport... what about Rodalies?

We want it all. We want to decide about the tracks, about the train and about everything that happens in Rodalies. Although there have been more investments in recent years, our priority is the comprehensive transfer.

And what does the minister say?

She doesn't decide. They are in a functioning government and this is raised to whom it belongs.

When will we see this full transfer?

It is part of the demand for negotiation with the state. On the table we have amnesty and improving people's lives and Rodalies is essential here, because it has an indisputable impact. At this time, no one can claim that if you take a train you will arrive at the scheduled time. We have daily incidents. Public transportation has to be effective and efficient.

What is more urgent, the governance of the airport or that of Rodalies?

Everything is important but the transfer of Rodalies is a priority for the country and cannot be postponed further in time.

Is the Generalitat prepared to manage such a complex network?

She is prepared for this challenge like all those who have been put in front of her, but it has to be linked to an economic transfer. In the past we have ended up assuming transfers but with a budget deficit, it is a burden.

Private mobility is also daily chaos. How is it solved? With tolls? With more roads?

It goes through a comprehensive system with public transportation. We have to ensure that there are fewer cars on the road.

There is talk of a new tunnel in Collserola, of a line on the coast, there is the old Horta tunnel project...

For years we have been working on the mobility of the future, thinking about a connected country that preserves the coast and the mountains.

And in the meantime?

Make neighborhoods viable. Our objective is for the Catalan railway network to be Ferrocarrils.

Should we end the ticket bonus?

We have to debate how we finance public transportation and we have to ask for loyalty from the state government, because every time there is an announcement of free and bonuses there is not the necessary financial coverage.

The expiration of the concessions of the State highways, AP-2 and AP-7, have left tolls only on those that belong to the Generalitat...

This week at the meeting of transport ministers in Europe certain questions will be raised. The tolls in Catalonia have ended because the concessions have ended, not because they were rescued, as in other places in the State, where they have been rescued systematically and it was possible to do so because we Catalans paid.

Is the Generalitat considering rescuing some of its highways?

We have to maintain them.

Another issue that affects people's lives is housing. What solutions do you propose?

I will always defend the Catalan law that limits rental prices. It was approved in the Parliament and overturned by the Constitutional Court, although limiting the rental price is constitutional and does not affect the right to property. The right to property is not absolute, it also has a social function and those who defend the constitution should respect it. We defend the Catalan index, which has already been tested and they talk about the need to homogenize. It is an issue that must be resolved politically. We have the will and vocation to apply the law in Catalonia. I haven't seen anyone else raising their hand to enforce the law.

Rentals have been deactivated, there are owners who have decided not to rent and the price goes up.

We must act to prevent growth from being stratospheric as has happened over the last ten years, at almost 50%. We have to do what we stopped doing, which is to generate affordable rental housing and stop depatrimonizing ourselves. Our proposal is 10,000 rental apartments at affordable prices by the end of 2026.

How will they do it?

Through different means, rehabilitating taking advantage of Next Generation funds, with new construction with Incasòl, with public-private competition and trying with the Sareb offer.

Do you trust this option?

I'm outraged because the rest of the rest is left. It should be a free transfer.

The mayor of Barcelona has offered plots of land.

We are analyzing it, but not everyone is ready. Now the mayors give us lots. We have to remove housing from the logic of the market. Just like we did with public health and medicines. It cannot be that the administrations do not act because then the right to speculation is generated. When they say that the higher the supply, the rental price decreases, well, that is what has not happened in recent years and when this happens in a capital, it has an expansive effect and externalities, which affect the metropolitan area, the region and have a affectation on mobility, on time. People cannot live where they work and the negative externalities affect the country as a whole. When we do not act, things happen like families that live in a room and a 21st century society cannot allow that. Without decent housing you can hardly have access to other rights. The right to housing is the gateway to other rights.