Building after the pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at Globalvia we have focused on keeping all the infrastructures we manage in the seven countries where we are present operational, as well as on guaranteeing the safety of our workers by providing them with the necessary means and equipment. This has been possible thanks to the experience of the management team, the speed of decision-making and the commitment and effort of all our company’s employees.

Once the worst months of the pandemic were over, we launched several initiatives with the aim of facilitating the use of infrastructures and safeguarding the health of users, since through them we promoted the use of technology as a means of payment in our assets without using cash and cards. These initiatives have been the implementation of the contactless card validation and payment system in Metro de Sevilla (Tap&Go) and the launch of the mobile app for toll payment in the United States (Slora by Globalvia). Both projects are part of our strategy of innovation and, therefore, of offering the best user experience. At Globalvia we plan to implement similar solutions in the rest of the concessions we manage, as soon as it becomes operational.

Tap&Go, a contactless validation and payment system implemented by Globalvia in Metro de Sevilla.

Slora by Globalvia, mobile payment app for toll roads in Virginia, USA.

The post-Covid era looks set to usher in a new reality that is not yet defined. In the field of transport, there is uncertainty about what the new mobility patterns of users will be like. Covid has had an unprecedented impact on infrastructure demand and, although there has been a recovery in recent months, the figures are still far from those recorded in 2019. This historic drop in demand is due to the mobility restrictions resulting from the states of alarm and emergency decreed by the various governments (national and local). The recovery has occurred with the easing of mobility restrictions, but the levels of 2019 have not been reached due to teleworking and the unprecedented economic crisis we are experiencing.

In the area of influence of the concessions managed by Globalvia, the objectives achieved during the pandemic remain the same: to guarantee the provision of the service, safeguard the safety of users and workers and seek maximum user satisfaction.

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With regard to the economic crisis, public-private partnerships are emerging as a fundamental tool for investing in infrastructure and, in this way, boosting the economy quickly and efficiently, while at the same time improving competitiveness. The public-private partnership model will allow states to develop infrastructures while avoiding budgetary restrictions and allocating resources to other priorities such as social spending and the reduction of public debt and interest payments.

Given the critical economic situation ahead of us, it is necessary to define projects quickly in order to get them underway and not delay recovery. In this task, private managers such as Globalvia have a lot to contribute, as we have the experience and resources necessary to accelerate the process of defining projects, while at the same time we can provide innovative solutions to optimise their cost-benefit ratio.

It is worth remembering that public-private partnerships not only generate a short-term benefit through off-budget financing of projects, but in the long term they also provide a fiscal return to the state through tax payments and ensure optimal maintenance of infrastructure, while improving the country’s productive capacity and competitiveness. They also guarantee efficient management of resources and ensure that infrastructure is operational to provide an essential service to society.

This efficient management of resources has been endorsed during the impact of the Filomena storm a few weeks ago. In particular in the three concessions that Globalvia manages in Madrid: a 14.1 kilometre section of the M-45 ring road, between the O’Donnell axis and the N-II, another 11.6 kilometre section of the M-407 dual carriageway, between the M-404 and the M-506, and the so-called Ruta de los Pantanos, a 21.8 kilometre section of the M-501, between the M-40 and the M-522. In these, it was possible to keep the roads clear of snow using all the machinery and human resources available in a four-day marathon.

Maintenance teams from Globalvia’s Madrid concessions during the Filomena storm.

But for public-private partnerships to become a reality in Spain, the current regulatory framework must be modified in such a way as to allow investors to have adequate returns and greater legal certainty.

Luis Mur Gil – Senior Investment Director

Tribune published in the Special Infrastructures section of Cambio 16 magazine: «Building after the pandemic».