Government last month announced the approval of a new “Railway-Airport-Public Transport” business plan worth almost 3 billion euros. The lion’s share of the funds, some 2 billion euros, goes to modernizing Greece’s rail network, particularly the Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Patras links. The basic aims of the program are to modernize transportation services and to reduce the far-reaching repercussions this sector has on the environment.
Besides the reorganization of the Greek railway company, the plan foresees new double lines from Athens to Patras that will allow the use of high-speed trains, which will cut travel time from four and one-half hours to two and one-half hours. A double line on the Athens-Thessaloniki run will cut travel time down to three and one-half hours from today’s five and one-half hours. Funds are also allocated for a line from central Athens to the Athens International Airport at Spata.
Funds for airports, 263 million euros, go towards the modernization of the N. Kazantakis Airport on Crete (new arrivals and departures building) and towards the extension of the runway at the Makedonia International Airport, Thessaloniki.
Remaining funds will be spent on Athens public transport improvements and the creation of six pilot training centers for car drivers. The majority of funds come from the European Union.