Pollution, Delrio: for a sustainable mobility the first strategy is a "rail treatment"

The declarations of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport during the audit at the Environment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies

Rome, January 27, 2016

A “rail treatment” is the only way to face smog emissions caused by transport. This one the first strategy outlined by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Graziano Delrio, during the audit to the Environment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, on possible actions to take in order to reduce pollutant emissions and for a sustainable mobility.

“The Minister - said Delrio - prepared, together with Regions, a reform proposal for local public transport, with a ‘prioritized order’ on a plan of 8,3 billion.” The minister also pointed the attention on our cities where there are too many cars: “In Rome, the use of cars is three times higher if compared to other European capitals, where the trend wants to reduce their use. Then, in Italy, means of transport are pollutant and old.” Delrio underlined the importance of the inter-modality: “Unconnected roads, ports, airports and railways constitute a critical issue to be faced with determination, we have a plan with RFI to strengthen connections with ports and airports.”

Delrio thinks that it's necessary a better offer of local public transport in terms of quality. Thanks to that, the demand will increase. The Minister took as example the city of Milan where “thanks to a good LPT offer, it has been possible to see a decrease in purchasing of private cars, on the model of other European cities.” “It's not a coincidence - he said - that where there is a quality offer the demand increases.” “Where potentially there are very profitable lines, in order to help the budget, an investment on LPT is necessary.” The Minister then declared how “We must make a deal with the regions, in order that this billion available for investment will be used as an innovation mechanism.” 
“It's possible to make the biggest purchase of rolling stock ever done in Italy,” highlighted Delrio.

To tackle this problem, the renewal of the means of transport is the main factor for what concern public transport on road and rail: “For the first time, we have the availability of 1,5 billion euro that can be considered not that much if we think in terms of needs, but a good amount if used to set up a rolling stock company, a company for purchasing vehicles under leasing by the payment of an annual rent.” “On that - continued the Minister - we are thinking with Cassa depositi e prestiti.” Always referring to the local public transport, Delrio added that “every day more than 2,2 million people use the regional lines and more than 2,6 million people the Metro lines, so local transport provides every day a service to more than five million passengers, many more if compared to those of the high speed.”

The implementation of sustainable mobility strategies should also focus on the cycling policy that, according to Delrio, is very important: “The bicycle is very competitive in the city, because car is used mostly for trips within five kilometres and bicycle takes much less time.” 

Even more, “with 2,8 million, for the first time the sale of bicycles has exceeded car sales.” The Minister then said that “We are thinking with RFI and Trenitalia to equip trains in order that this change of transport modes will be possible.” Delrio also reminded that 91 million have been already allocated over three years for cycling and that “by an increase in the number of users there would be also a return in terms of employment.”

Replying to group questions during the audit, Delrio confirmed also that “even if with many difficulties, we will participate to the EU competition Cef (the first EU competition on transport for Connecting Europe, ndr) and we hope to have more funding for a topic that I consider very important”. “They're not only words, but funds allocated thanks to clear political choices,” he said.

If compared to rail transport “the gap with Germany is impossible to fill in a few years, but I want to make available networks that now do not work.” “The point is that we have a huge gap in terms of passengers, travels, kilometres, trains, so we have to make the best effort in order to coordinate and best focus our cares on transport priorities set out together with the Regions,” said also Delrio.