“Antioquia will enter a golden age because now it will be flat”

Some have ventured to call it the new miracle of Antioquia and there would be no shortage of reasons because, after 70 years of suffering with narrow roads and endless hills, the department will launch eight fourth-generation highways that will modify the map and its connections. Two ports in Urabá and the Toyo tunnel will be added to these roads, which will be the longest in Latin America at 9.8 kilometers.

This geographical reconfiguration is what the manager of the Idea, Julián Vásquez, calls the flat Antioquia, a territory that will no longer have to raffle mountain prizes to get out or get in, as if it were an eternal cycling race, but instead will be able to unite with ease its subregions with the productive and economic center located in Aburrá.

We spoke with Vásquez about the challenges that this new era will bring, about the projects carried out by the Idea in infrastructure and energy production, about the recovery of the railway and about the claim against EPM for Hidroituango.

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He talks about a flat Antioquia that is content with 4G roads. What era opens for the department?

“Antioquia has changed a lot, it will be flat because the 4G roads will allow it. We must continue advancing in the road infrastructure, but we must now think about the provision of capacities, such as a robust hospital and educational network and a good Internet connection, so that in the territories progress can be made in real estate and industrial development, that the subregions not just to go for a walk.

Antioquia will have some golden years due to the reduction in time to reach the territories and the connectivity between the same regions. It will promote formal employment and agricultural vocation. That flat Antioquia has a unique opportunity to bring capabilities and generate opportunities in the same territories. For the department to continue growing, development must reach all subregions. The road development brought the municipalities closer to the business and decision-making center that is the Aburrá”.

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It’s like a rule of three: if Antioquia had industrial and economic splendor enclosed by mountains, what will it be like now that it will finally have good roads?

“It is that Antioquia was condemned to be uncompetitive throughout its history, the reality of the roads shows us that it was important in the past, it is important now, but it will be transcendental in the future. For many years, Antioquia businessmen have promoted initiatives of all kinds having to go up and down mountains, that will no longer be necessary with the double lanes, but we are also talking about the ports of Urabá and the second runway of the Rionegro airport.

This department is entering a golden age, it is now necessary for public leaders to understand that the only way forward is united, we cannot come to put an end to the institutional framework and generate differences between private, public and civil society”.

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In which projects will the IDB support the Idea?

“We had an agenda on road infrastructure and energy. We have four fronts, the first of which is the Toyo tunnel, these efforts must be carried out hand in hand with the banking system and the Idea is called upon to be the one that resolves the financial challenges. Other fronts are the Tren del Río, the East Dual Carriageway, the East Tunnel and the small hydroelectric plants. We are talking about energy efficiency and the first digital public bank in Latin America, which we want to see appear in October to combat drop by drop. The natural ally of this agenda is the IDB”.

And what will be the IDB’s role in these projects?

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