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Italy To Review Funding For Rail Link With France

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Italy on Thursday called for a funding review of a high-speed rail link with France, a multi-billion-dollar

project that threatens to tear apart Rome’s ruling coalition.

The Alpine rail line is backed by the ruling League Party but is fiercely opposed by its coalition partner,

the 5-Star Movement, which argues Italy’s share of the funding would be better spent upgrading

existing roads and bridges.

The TAV project (Treno Alta Velocita) is an equal joint venture between Italian and French states, with

the EU funding up to 40 per cent of costs, Italy up to 35 per cent and France up to 25 per cent.

Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on Thursday said that recently updated traffic projections for

the line warranted a review of the project’s long-term viability and, if necessary, a renegotiation of the

way the funding is split.

“Further (coalition) meetings will be necessary given a final agreement has not yet been reached,”

Conte said.

The ruling parties are due to meet again on Thursday to try and reach an agreed position.

Conte has promised that the government will make a decision by Friday.

The right-wing League and the anti-establishment 5-Star have been at loggerheads over several major

issues since forming an unlikely alliance in 2018 after inconclusive elections.

There is growing media speculation that the Alpine rail link could be the issue that finally brings it

down.

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Work has already started on the most ambitious part of the project, a 58km (36 mile) tunnel through

the Alps.

A report commissioned by Transport Minister, Daniel Toninelli, a 5-Star politician, recently found that

the project was a waste of public money.

The transport ministry puts the total price tag at more than 20 billion euros (22.6 billion dollars).

The report estimated that the economic return would be a negative balance of between 7.0-7.8 billion

euros (7.9-8.8 billion dollars).

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