The mayor of Madrid and candidate of the Popular Party for re-election, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, is looking forward to the elections this Sunday. He defends his management throughout these four years, in which the capital has become an economic engine at very difficult times. For the new legislature, a decrease in the IBI and projects such as the burying of the M-30 as it passes through Ventas is advancing. In addition, he is convinced that Formula 1 will come to the city.
QUESTION.- Let’s get into the day-to-day politics in Madrid. He always reproaches me for getting him into trouble when I asked him to commit to repealing Madrid Central. There are many people who resist voting for this, what do you tell them?
R.-We are the economic engine of Spain and that shows that in order to make sustainable environmental policies, the economy must not be stifled. And we have the best air quality data. It is not a question of restrictions, but of alternatives. We have invested more than 100 million in the renewal of fleets, taxis, merchandise distribution and private vehicles, and we have increased public transport. We are going to work along these lines and we are not contemplating greater restrictions on private vehicles because we are meeting the environmental objectives that the EU has set for us and we are an economic engine.
Q.- But, what if I have an old car and I can’t buy an electric one?
R.- Well, you can access a grant from the City Council.
Q.- What kind?
P.- One that will allow you to alleviate the cost of the new vehicle, which does not necessarily have to be new. We want to renew the fleet of vehicles, and we are achieving it. The average age of the vehicle fleet in Spain is between 13 and 14 years and in Madrid, between 10 and 11. We are restricting the circulation of diesel vehicles over 20 years old, and 25 years if they are diesel. But for those who are affected by these restrictions, we have launched lines of subsidies for vehicle renewal. It is a reasonable approach.
Q.- But how much money do you give per vehicle and based on what income?
R.- It is not a matter of rent. We make the line of subsidies available to all Madrid residents and they can reach up to 6,000 euros.
Q.- What taxes will be lowered in the next legislature?
R.- The IBI at the minimum legal rate, which was a commitment we had in this legislature and we could not lower it because Javier Ortega Smith voted with Rita Maestre against the Budgets. In addition, the issue of housing cannot be faced with the failed recipes of the law approved with the Bilduetarras and ERC. It is necessary to increase the offer, but also to lower the Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works (ICIO), from 4 to 3%. In this way, developers will have more financial muscle to be able to quickly start the construction of homes. We will subsidize the IBI by 95% to centennial premises and businesses, and we will continue with the subsidy for large families and for the installation of self-consumption in communities of owners and in single-family homes.
Q.- The other day, Ortega Smith recriminated that Madrid was, by far, the city that imposed the most traffic fines on its citizens. Is this true?
R.- Well, it is that we have 3,300,000 inhabitants. Barcelona has 1,600,000.
Q.- But in percentage terms? With your data, it did seem that you and yours get the little notebook more easily than it should…
R.- We have greatly improved the accident rate and road safety data in the last four years. When Ortega Smith says that “the Madrid of carmeid collects 347 million euros in fines” is not true. Most of these fines are for speeding, red lights, for not respecting a zebra crossing… behaviors that endanger road safety. Respecting the rules is extraordinarily important, there is no desire to collect money. The collection impact of fines on revenue is not excessively high.
Q.- Man, 347 million is not a little money…
R.- Undoubtedly. I would like to collect zero euros, but driving faster than allowed or running a red light are behaviors that have to be penalized. In this city there are 12 million trips per day. Maybe there aren’t that many fines.
Q.- What do you plan to do with the graffiti? I travel around Madrid a lot and it’s disgusting to look at the facades, it’s a real shame. There are merchants who don’t even clean anymore because they know it’s useless.
R.- It’s a shame, it’s one of the most uncivil behaviors out there. For the first time we have approved a specific contract to clean up graffiti and a specific cleaning brigade has been created. But it is true that we have that problem, that as soon as they clean it, the vandals dirty it again. The next step has been a cleaning ordinance that multiplies the sanctions for the perpetrators. And, in the next legislature, we are going to create a Municipal Police unit specialized in prosecuting graffiti.
Q.- One of the issues that came up in the debate is that Madrid is dirty. I walk around the city a lot and I don’t see it that way, but…
R.- I would recommend Ortega Smith and Rita Maestre to talk to people who come from outside Madrid. I talk to people a lot and they tell me that the city is clean. The situation has improved. It is true that you always have to make a greater effort and attend to any complaints that may exist, but the city is clean.
Q.- What is your response to the left, which is determined that you are the planetary culprit of climate change?
R.- Roberto Sotomayor, Reyes Maroto and Rita Maestre are the trio of the Apocalypse. I said it in the debate and I repeat it. Rita Maestre hears a piece of information and gets dizzy, she has no data to support what she says. In Madrid, 210,000 trees have been planted. In four years, the left felled 132,000, 700 in La Castellana, the largest arboricidio that is remembered The fellings have a logic, it is not a decision of the mayor. There are trees that pose a danger to people or a problem to run a transport infrastructure. We have authorized 80,000 new trees, 60,000 of them due to damage from Filomena. What bothers them is that the UN defines us as tree city for the fourth consecutive year. We are the city with the most trees per capita.
Q.- Historically, Madrid was the city with the most trees along with Tokyo.
R.- It is that they are debates that the left tries to patrimonialize. And those of us who do not agree with them are deniers. It’s like feminism or LGTBI rights. Anyone who doesn’t think like Montero or Maroto is sexist and homophobic. What has happened with Vinicius is intolerable, but Irene Montero has already chimed in on the subject to say that those of us who do not share her vision that Spain is a racist country are racists.
Q.- She says that we are “structurally racist”, are you racist?
R.- We are not structurally racist, far from it. It is true that all xenophobic and racist behavior must be combated, and what has happened in Valencia and in other stadiums is intolerable. But from there to saying that Spain has a structurally racist behavior… Those of us who have a problem are not the Spaniards, the one who has a problem is Irene Montero. I don’t know what men she has come across in her life.
Q.- With Pablo Iglesias, who is the typed more macho.
R.- There’s the answer. You have given the answer.
Q.- Is Pablo Iglesias hyper macho?
R.- Man, I would never consider whipping a woman until she bled or send my ex-partner behind a column in the Congress of Deputies. Of course, I would not say that she is an example of feminism and conciliation.
Q.- Are you going to put up the Gay Pride flag this year?
R.- No, and not because I have anything against the flag or against Pride. That all the debate on the left, after four years in which they told me that I was homophobic, is whether to put up a flag… Pride has continued to be celebrated as always. Madrid is a free city, in which nothing happens to love who you want to love. There is a ruling from the Supreme Court and the legal services told us that flags other than the official ones could not be placed. The search for equality invokes absolutely all of us, but it is not summed up in placing the flag or not, but in that Pride continues to be celebrated and that in this city the LGTBI community continues to feel as free as it has always felt.
Q.- Is there any homosexual in your candidacy?
R.- The councilor for the Centro and Salamanca districts, José Fernández, whom I had the honor of marrying.
Q.- So, you don’t seem very homophobic…
R.- That is what I say.
Q.- Are you going to bury the M-30 at some point? And the entrance to Madrid from the north, at the height of the Cinco Torres?
R.- Yes, in order to definitively unite the entire financial district, the Madrid Nuevo Norte operation… We are going to cover the M-30 to the south of the Ventas bridge in a 300-meter section. And I ratify, despite the fact that it is a commitment that I have broken in this complicated legislature, that we will bury the A-5 at its exit through Paseo de Extremadura.
Q.- Is Formula 1 coming to Madrid?
R.- I am sure that you will greatly enjoy Formula 1 in Madrid.
Q.- In an urban circuit?
R.- Yes Yes.
R.- It is being negotiated by IFEMA and it must be left to the discretion of the negotiators but it is going reasonably well.
Q.- And where would the circuit go?
R.- Well, if IFEMA is negotiating it, I think I’m already giving clues.
Q.- Would you go only for IFEMA?
R.- And for the surrounding area.
Q.- Why don’t they put it in the center of the city, like in Monte Carlo?
R.- Because we have a very important competitive advantage, from the point of view of facilities and paddockwhich are the IFEMA warehouses.
Q.- And the Olympic Games?
R.- For now it is difficult to propose a candidacy. We have to continue working so that there is a high citizen and institutional consensus.
Q.- And when could it be considered?
R.- When we are able to continue attracting major national and international events and generating the breeding ground promoting grassroots sport. With these premises, and working discreetly, we could begin to consider it.
Q.- Do you believe the Tezanos CIS survey that gave Isabel Díaz Ayuso ten percentage points above you in the elections?
R.- In May 2021, a week before the elections, Tezanos told us that the left was adding up in Madrid. When I reach the majority, which I am sure I will, one of my first thanks from the balcony of Genoa will be to José Félix
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