Buenos Aires collectives: the struggle for subsidies behind the transfer

The national government convened a working table with technicians from the city government of Buenos Aires to define the transfer of 32 bus lines from Buenos Aires which, in 2021, demanded 14,600 million pesos in subsidies. At the meeting next week, Nation will seek to recover this amount to allocate to the Public Transport Compensation Fund with which it assists groups in the rest of the country.

In this way, the government gives rise to a historic claim by the provinces, given the fact that the City is the only jurisdiction in the country that receives funds to subsidize the bus lines that transport passengers in the territory. Buenos Aires government minister Jorge Macri victimized himself and said, “The bus ticket could cost $45 by decision of the national government.”

In 2021, the Nation disbursed approximately 14,600 million pesos to subsidize part of the ticket for buses that run exclusively in the City. Of this amount, approximately 13,850 million was used to offset supply and demand tariffs and the rest for diesel at a differential price.

In turn, last year the national government also contributed 28,000 million pesos to the Transport Compensation Fund to subsidize part of the transport costs in the rest of the interior provinces. “This Fund had been virtually eliminated as part of the Tax Consensus that the government signed in 2017 with the provinces. When President Alberto Fernández took office, the subsidy was tripled,” the Nation’s Transportation Secretary, Diego Giuliano, explained to Pagina I12.

In the 2022 budget, which was not approved in Congress, the government aimed to double that amount, to 48 billion pesos. Now he is looking to allocate that money to the Compensation Fund. This increase is a claim by the provinces to achieve “greater equity in the distribution of transport resources, so that the interior of the country has a ticket similar to that paid by the inhabitants of the city of Buenos Aires”. Thus, the amount to subsidize part of the ticket for these 32 lines which only run in the City represents approximately half of what the Treasury contributes to the Compensation Fund. As a result of this processing, the provinces attribute the difference between the minimum passes in CABA compared to the rest.

The minimum ticket in the federal capital costs 18 pesos. In the case of Córdoba and Santa Fe, it is 59.35 pesos. In Necochea, it costs 80 pesos; in San Martin de los Andes, 79.89 pesos; in Bahía Blanca, 76 pesos; in Bariloche 62 pesos; and in Mar del Plata 59.90 pesos.

“The fact that the national state continues to subsidize urban passenger transport lines that only serve routes inside the city of Buenos Aires harms other provinces and cities that have different treatment,” Giuliano said. .

The discussion, they specify from the Transport portfolio, would be limited to the 32 lines that serve the capital and not to the interjurisdictional lines. It is that in reality there are 135 bus lines that cross the city, but the emphasis is on those 32 that only cross the territory of Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) bus service, which covers the city and suburban neighborhoods, would remain within the sphere of the national state, as would other interjurisdictional lines that the nation regulates and sets levels of pricing such as Resistencia (Chaco)–Corrientes, between Cipolletti (Río Negro)–Neuquén or between Paraná–Santa Fe.

The national government will also maintain the benefits that guarantee a reduced transport fare to domestic workers, AUH beneficiaries and socially vulnerable sectors in all jurisdictions that have the SUBE system.

The Nation intends to move forward in this dispute under the protection of Law 26,740 on public passenger transport, which was passed in 2012. In its article 2, it establishes that “it is up to the autonomous city of Buenos Aires to exercise exclusive jurisdiction and control over the public passenger transport services, metro and Premetro; automobile and tram transport service whose service corresponds to the territory of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires”. In this context, the transfer of the metros to the City was carried out when Mauricio Macri was Head of Government of the City.

From the city, they answer that an agreement between the parties and a ratification by the legislature of Buenos Aires will be necessary. The government of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta will have to analyze what it will do with the tariffs because it can maintain the subsidy or increase it. In the background, after the transfer of the metro, there was an increase in the service rate of 127.27% – from 1.10 pesos to 2.50 pesos.

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