The Manacor-Arta line operated from 1921 to 1977. | FERROCAIB

Mayors of town halls in Mallorca's Llevant eastern region have reacted to the news that the Balearic government's 2024 budget does not include provision for the Manacor-Arta railway by insisting that it would be a benefit for the region.

The mayor of Manacor, Miquel Oliver, believes that it will mean losing the opportunity to give the region the importance it merits. "The people of Manacor deserve a good public transport system." He adds that the project for reintroducing the line to Arta is also intended to remodel mobility within Manacor and to bring benefits in terms of trade, health and culture. At a meeting with President Prohens: "I tried to convey to her the importance of this project for the Llevant, which is why it is difficult for me to understand the decision."

While all the mayors see the benefits, their responses are tempered by their political colours. Oliver is a leading member of Més, who are in opposition in the Balearic parliament. The mayors of Capdepera, Sant Llorenç and Son Servera are all from the Partido Popular, the ruling party. They say that it is essential that financing is assured and that there is an item in the Spanish government's budget to undertake such an important project. The Balearic government has justified not including provision for the Manacor-Arta line next year because it says that this financing isn't guaranteed.

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Manolo Galán, the PSOE mayor of Arta, is more in tune with Oliver: "This shows that the Prohens government does not believe in public transport."

This railway line operated between 1921 and 1977. Its intended reopening was one of two rail projects planned by the PSOE-led coalition government of 2007-2011. The extension from Sa Pobla to Alcudia fell by the wayside primarily because Alcudia town hall and the Balearic government couldn't agree on the route. Which left Manacor to Arta. There was a big event in March 2010 to publicise its redevelopment.

But austerity as a consequence of the financial crisis was to kill it off. In April 2013, the Partido Popular government announced that the project would not proceed further.

At a presentation in March this year, former Balearic president, Francina Armengol, said that the necessary financing was available. "We have the 120 million euros planned for this project thanks to the sustainable tourism tax."