New EU funds assigned: what’s next for the Turin-Lyon rail tunnel?

Of the 135 infrastructure projects funded by the EU, 11 will directly involve Italy. The EU has granted 220 million euros in funds which will be used on a number of different projects. The Turin-Lyon tunnel stands out as one of the most important. Financing will be used to finalise the design of the route.

The funding package was announced by Adina Valean, EU commissioner for transport, during the Connecting Europe Days, which took place in Lyon from 28 to 30 of June.

Italy is ready

The two most important projects are the construction of rail access in the Brenner base tunnel and the completion of the Turin-Lyon route. 10,7 million euros are going to be spent on updating the final design for the Turin-Lyon rail tunnel, which is part of the Central Mediterranean corridor.

Italy has finally greenlit the project, after debates and protests that peaked in July 2020. Marco Gabussi, assessor overseeing transport in Piedmont region, says that Italy has finally caught up after being slowed down by protests.

French side not so eager

However, the concerns currently revolve around France, which Jacques Gounon, president of Getlink, has accused of procrastination. Moreover, as reported by 20mintes.fr, the mayor of Lyon, Grégory Doucet, has been opposing the project. Only 11 km of tunnel have been dug on the French side.

Lyon Entreprises states that, despite the project started in 2013, negotiations are still taking place and the route is expected to complete no earlier than 2030. Gounon, lamented that every delay in the project is a very costly delay.

EU coordinator Iveta Radičová urges France to create a public structure to coordinate all parties involved before the end of 2022. If this is not the case, there is a concrete risk of missing.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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