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Aerotropolis Counter Point

The danger is in the graft…and don’t share this article with Thomas Friedman.

Spain Ghost Airports: Symbols of Boom Turned Bust

But signs abound that Spain has not fully learned the lessons of its profligate spending. Spain recently announced a high-speed rail link to the sparsely populated northwest region of Galicia, a plan many economists see as an extravagance. Bridge and highway projects are plowing forward in the face of criticism that Spain just can’t afford them.

Indeed, it’s an unhealthy mix of politics and business that critics blame for white elephants such as the airport in Ciudad Real, a city of 74,000 people. Spain has a history of pouring public money into dodgy projects to fuel the careers of ambitious politicians and local entrepreneurs.

“We have substituted our obsession with bricks and house building with an obsession for highways, high speed trains and airports, but it’s the same rubbish,” said Fernando Fernandez, a macroeconomics Professor at IE Business School in Madrid.

“It’s like a drug addict trying detox,” he said. “The economy has been growing through construction for the last 10 years and that creates all sorts of bad habits.”

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