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Sun Mar 1, 2015, 05:56 PM

Argentine Gov't moves to nationalize railways [View all]

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that the Executive Power will sponsor a bill to nationalize the country’s railways during her speech at the opening of the 133th congressional period.

“I would like to tell all lawmakers that I will deliver a bill for the State to recover the management of Argentina’s railways,” Ms. Kirchner said. “I am not moved by a nationalization zeal. It is simply about improving efficiency.” “We will save additional 415 million pesos ($48 million),” she vowed.

Read more: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/183239/govt-moves-to-nationalize-railways



Argentina's railways - at 21,000 mi the most extensive in Latin America - were privatized by way of operating concessions 20 years ago. While most freight lines were kept running, all but 6,000 mi or so of commuter rail services were discontinued.

They were privatized gratis because the rationale at the time (heartily endorsed by the IMF and AEI types) was that privatizations would free the state from the rail system's $1-2 million in daily losses - but by 2011 "privatized" rail required $4 million in daily subsidies, with no improvement in quality and 100,000 laid off employees to boot. Numerous lines were already renationalized (i.e. the concessions rescinded) in 2013, and services in these lines have improved dramatically. This announcement just finishes a job long overdue.

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