The Balearic Parliament, with the support of all the political parties represented, approved the transfer of responsibility for roads outside city limits to the island Councils. As a result, the Council of Majorca will receive 5'036 million pesetas, while 803 million pesetas each will go to Minorca and Ibiza-Formentera. They will receive the same amounts in 2003 and 2004 and 2'000 million more for the following years. From January 1, the Councils will take over the functions of the Balearic government, which includes road planning, preparing and approving a master plan for roads, building new roads and improving existing ones. The Councils will also be responsible for road signs, lighting, auxiliary installations, inspections and permits. Two amendments presented by the conservative Popular Party were rejected. One called for an inventory on the state of the roads at the hand-over and the other involved finance. The PP spokesman José María González Ortea also said that the unions had expressed concern at the labour situation of the road workers. Miquel Nadal, the vice-president of the Council of Majorca, said that 2002 would be “the year of the roads” for Majorcans, as they would note the improvements. Joana Barceló, president of the Council of Minorca, told workers not to worry as they would not lose out by the change. She also said that the islands were to be congratulated because the transfer will mean more money for the roads. Extra funding for new roads will also be available under an agreement signed between the local and central governments during the last legislature.

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