Pedro Nuno Santos was being heard at the joint parliamentary committee on Budget and Finance and Economy, Public Works, Planning and Housing, within the scope of the analysis, in particular, of the State Budget for 2022 (OE2022).

In response to the deputies, who questioned the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing for about six hours, Pedro Nuno Santos defended that the high-speed rail line is a “transforming project for cities like Leiria, Coimbra, Aveiro and Braga” and that it will also benefit “a group of cities in the interior of the country”.

“The high-speed line is a structuring project for the country, which will radically change the way the two metropolitan areas [Lisbon and Porto] relate to each other”, highlighted the minister.

The high-speed train will allow, the minister recalled, passengers to go from Braga to Lisbon in about 47 minutes and from Lisbon to Porto in an hour and 15 minutes.

The minister said he expects the environmental impact assessment to be completed in 2023, so that the public tender can be launched in early 2023, work will begin in 2024 and be completed in 2028.

In a first phase, the Porto-Aveiro and Aveiro-Soure (Coimbra) section will be built, followed by the construction of the connection to Carregado (Alenquer municipality, Lisbon district), to start in 2026 with completion in 2030.

For the second phase, the construction of the Porto-Vigo (Spain) connection is planned, which Pedro Nuno Santos considered “very important”, since Galicia is the Spanish region with which Portugal has the closest relations.

As for the southern corridor, to connect Lisbon to Madrid, the official said that this is a debate that must continue and an issue with which he cannot commit himself.