By Jason Moore
DON'T spend money you haven't got, were words of wisdom uttered to me at a young age. It's a great pity that the Balearic government haven't taken note. The massive road building programme which is going to cost millions of euros is going ahead even though the necessary funding from Madrid has not been secured. An amazing state of affairs. Balearic President Jaume Matas is obviously on dangerous ground. The investment for the road programme was secured when the former Partido Popular government was in power. But the change of government, and the socialists opposition to the plan, means that the programme is in danger and could be axed. The fact that the Balearics have a conservative government and the socialists are now in power in Madrid, doesn't help things either. Matas claims that funding which was due for the Balearics is being diverted to other socialist controlled provinces. For this reason he called for a “fair deal” in a speech this week. Until the funding is secured I believe that it would be a good idea to put the project on hold. This will allow the Balearic government to look at the plans again and listen to some of the criticisms which are being made. An ambitious programme of this type needs all party support in the Balearics especially as large parts of the islands are going to be affected. The question needs to be asked whether or not the island needs such an extensive road network. Two ring road for a city of 500'000 people? A motorway to a town with a population of 25'000? Once the roads have been built it will be too late. Matas has a breathing space which he can also use to his advantage. A war of words with Madrid will only make the problem even more difficult to resolve. Matas knew that as soon as Zapatero came to power his direct line with Madrid would be over. Now, he has a major battle on his hands and his beloved road network could suffer as a direct result.


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