ROME (Reuters) – Italy aims to decide by the end of May whether to complete a high-speed rail link to France, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli told Reuters, predicting agreement within the government on a plan that has divided its coalition parties.
Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has long opposed the plan for a high-speed train between Turin and Lyon as a waste of money, while its coalition partner, the far right League, strongly supports it as an urgently needed investment.
Issue - Coalition - Difficulties - Economy - Recession
The issue has the potential to split apart the eight-month-old coalition, which is beset by difficulties as the economy approaches what could be its third recession in a decade.
In written responses to questions from Reuters, Toninelli, a prominent 5-Star member, said he would not consider a decision to press ahead with the railway as a political setback, since it would mean the project had survived his own scrutiny.
People - Money
“If we go ahead it means that it is worth doing it. I will have, myself, checked that people’s money is not going to be wasted and therefore I will have done my best,” he said.
Work has already started on the 270-km (167-mile) high-speed line which is estimated to cost some 26 billion euros ($29.8 billion) and tap French and European Union funds.
Railway - TAV - Europe - Infrastructure - Projects
The railway, known as TAV, is one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects. Rome called for work to be frozen last year to enable an extensive review of its financial viability. League politicians joined...
Wake Up To Breaking News!