Isabel Díaz Ayuso imitates the Esperanza Aguirre model: 36 years to pay for the City of Justice | Madrid

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What will the Community of Madrid be like in 30 years? And who will rule it? Nobody knows, although one thing is certain: the Executive in charge will then continue to pay at least 50 million euros a year to the company that builds the new City of Justice in Valdebebas. The figures of the operation are dizzying: the builder will spend 500 million to erect 18 buildings, will receive 50 a year for about 36 years (for a total of 1,800) and will be able to exploit the commercial areas, parking lots and offices in exchange for paying for the services of security, cleaning or customer service. By the time the directors of Isabel Díaz Ayuso retire, who this Wednesday kick off the project, her successors will continue to have to execute their plans. Whatever your party. A model with the PP seal: hospitals, roads, houses or trains have also been launched with agreements signed for several decades.

“The problem with the public-private concession model that we have had to date in the Community of Madrid is that the negotiation of the fees to be paid to the concessionaires is tremendously burdensome for the citizens,” laments Alberto Oliver, from Más Madrid, the party that leads the opposition to the PP in the Assembly. “Their only advantage is that they can be carried out without considering them in budgets, but payments are deferred for dozens of years, and the future of the region is mortgaged, hiding debt under the carpets that sooner or later ends up emerging,” he continues. And he underlines: “When we govern [sic] we will proceed to an exhaustive review of all the concessions and will be assessed on a case by case basis ”.

The regional government, however, opposes a very different vision. “The need to have and develop new infrastructures and the provision of services considered essential, collides head-on with the problem posed by their financing,” says a government spokesman, who recalls that in this way the Administration saves the initial investment in construction (in charge of dealer) and reduces your risks. “This is where the figure of the concession comes in, with a long tradition in state and community legislation.”

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In few places is this tradition more ingrained than in Madrid, where the PP has been ruling for more than a quarter of a century. From Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to Díaz Ayuso, the decisions taken during that long period of time will make the conservative management affect the public coffers for at least another 40 years. There are plenty of examples:

A time that in the case of the City of Justice will take up to 36 years, which would raise spending to about 1.8 billion. Although all the buildings revert to the end of the concession in the Administration, thus increasing their assets, the new project raises questions that are still unanswered:

What will happen to the judicial buildings that the Administration will abandon to move to the new complex, and which are valued at 300 million euros if sold, according to a Deloitte report accessed by EL PAÍS? Will the rental be chosen, in which case the annual income would be around 16 million euros, according to this consultancy? What parameters will serve to recalculate the amount of the canon paid by the Administration as the decades progress? How is this project different from the one Aguirre promoted, and which is still being investigated by justice for its alleged cost overruns, or from the one later attempted by Cristina Cifuentes?

Overcharge of about 150 million

“The Aguirre project, which was a megalomaniac and it was a complete fiasco, we still do not know the money that was thrown away, it will be around 150 million,” answers a source who knows in detail the investigation that the Assembly, and that left black on white that the act of laying the first stone had cost 1.4 million euros; that 72 events were held to present the project in New York, Singapore, Munich or Milan; and that millionaire salaries were paid to famous architects like Norman Foster for designing buildings that will now not see the light of day. “That is why now it is necessary to take extreme precautions and controls so that it does not lead to another fiasco, since the infrastructure may be necessary.”

“Public-private collaboration can be a means of financing investments when it does not have the capacity to carry them out, but if this Community is not capable of assuming the financing of an action such as that of the City of Justice in four years it is that he is thinking about the business of a few, more than in the interest of the Madrilenian citizenship ”, adds José Luis García, deputy of the PSOE. “The most negative thing is the high cost it has for the regional coffers, you just have to look at the defaults that are occurring in hospital concessions,” he adds. And he raises: “The question is why we have to pay 1,800 million euros for an investment of 500 million that can be undertaken in four years.”

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The model, recalls a government spokesman, obliges the concessionaire to offer the necessary services, in addition to constructing the buildings. And it is applied in other autonomous communities in which the PP does not govern, such as Catalonia, where it was used for the City of Justice of Barcelona. However, wherever it is applied, it forces you to mortgage billions of euros in spending over several decades. And whoever rules governs. With a peculiarity: the Madrid concessions are sometimes longer-term than others that can be approved.

It all started in the Valencian Community. With the PP in power, the regional government granted the management of a hospital, 14 health centers and 31 clinics in 35 municipalities to a private company. It was 1999, and that is how the Alzira model was born, later implanted in Torrevieja, Dénia and Vinalopó, and exported to Madrid, where it has reached its maximum expression: if those first Valencian concessions were 15 years (this was decided after registering losses between 1999 and 2002), the Madrilenians reached 30.

The idea was enthusiastically received by the Government of Aguirre: with the Minister of Health at the helm, he participated in forums in which more than 1,000 euros were requested per attendee in exchange for hearing all the details about the specifications of the your infrastructure plan. Almost two decades later, and after a thousand and one lawsuits, the Government formed by the PSOE, Compromís and Podemos has begun to revert the Valencian concessions to the public system when they have ended.

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In Castilla y León, the agreement of the coalition government formed by PP and Cs also includes the commitment to study the reversal of the Burgos university hospital concession (until 2036).

And in Madrid? Is that possibility possible in the event of a change of government? “There is no political risk”, they answer from the regional Executive, where they assure that the planned expenditure for the concession of the City of Justice (50 million a year) is less than that which is done now for the same concepts (72 million ).

“With this model we ensure the financial stability of the Community and great savings for the taxpayer,” they assure the Ministry of Justice, which has coordinated the project. “It is more important to spend well than to spend a lot.”

Client networks

An argument that does not convince the opposition parties, who see in the concession model the possibility of establishing and consolidating client networks in a region that the PP has governed since 1995, and in which the plots investigated in the cases Punic, Gürtel, Lezo

“In the municipalities where we govern we have already reversed unfair concessions. Now the change has to reach the Community of Madrid as well ”, affirms Carolina Alonso, from Podemos, giving as an example the remunicipalisation of the electric lighting in Alcorcón. “What Ayuso euphemistically calls public-private collaborations are a very refined form of corruption, in which the PP diverts public money with contracts or concessions for 30 or 40 years to friendly companies, and then they thank them by making donations in b for electoral campaigns ”, he opines.

The Government hopes that the new City of Justice will be ready in 2026. In 2060, when the memory of its inauguration is as far behind as it is now that of the black and white photos of the Transition pacts, Madrid will continue to pay for it.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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