On the right track?

The latest clash between an ostensible program of «modernization» and the country’s infrastructure network, signaled by last week’s railway accident and the statements of Transport Minister Christos Verelis which followed it, is real food for thought. Verelis basically conceded that the railway network of the Peloponnese «is antiquated, but there are no funds to change this…» This meant there are no funds to modernize it, to make it safe; in other words, «This is what we’ve got, this is what you have to rely upon… and God help you!» A strange confession indeed – from a theoretically pro-modernization minister of a self-proclaimed «modernizing» government – that the necessary means to modernize the country’s railway network (a significant section of which was constructed in the 19th century) are not available. And this is despite the huge subsidies Greece has received over the last 20 years for the precise purpose of modernizing the country’s transport network and infrastructure… Even the network’s «good» section, the Athens-Thessaloniki route which culminates at the border, has not been upgraded, or extended, for decades. In other modern countries (modern in deed, not just word!) the railway network is a dense, technically advanced system which is responsible for carrying a significant amount of the transport burden, whether people or products, as well as boosting regional development.

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