The following is part of the interview given by the CEO of the FS Italiane Group to the Corriere della Sera.
“The Strait of Messina bridge? It would cost less than the Naples to Bari line”
Rome, 13 October 2016
“The debate on the bridge over the Strait baffles me. People did not wonder how to cross the Po when construction on the railway was under way. The bridge was just built”. Renato Mazzoncini, the CEO of the Italian State Railway, presented the industrial plan 2017-2026 in late September. This plan did not make any explicit reference to the bridge. But it is automatically included as part of the completion on the Italian side of the four European Corridors in Italy, “because mountains are passed with tunnels and seas with bridges”.
However, the problem often highlighted with the bridge over the Strait is its cost.
“Investments are earmarked for the Corridor running from Brenner to Palermo, partly financed by the European Community to the tune of 30 billion. The bridge over the Strait is just one of the infrastructures to be completed. The 60 kilometres beneath the Alps to Brenner hold no comparison in this respect: the tunnelling costs 9 billion, half of which is paid by Italy, while the bridge would cost less than half that at 4 billion. Further emphasising how good the idea is, the high-capacity line between Bari and Naples cost 6 billion and the Florence underpass cost 1.6”.
So, was the problem with the Messina bridge just the financing project which increased its costs?
“I would say so, the idea behind the financing project was wrong on two accounts. Firstly, it is unlikely that mere tolls from road traffic would pay for the work. Secondly, by resorting to private financing it was inevitable that the high market rates would increase costs”.
Anas is also involved in the bridge, a company you’ll be successfully teaming up with in 2017. The goal is to save 400 million. How can this be done?
“You can create synergy in managing contracts, purchasing and maintenance work. However, there is another key reason behind this union: to integrate the two infrastructures and to place rail technology at the service of the roads”.