French region to fill the financial gap for Turin-Lyon access routes

Image: Facebook. Laurent Wauquiez

The French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which includes Lyon, said it is willing to cover the 20 million euros missing for the studies for the French access routes to the future Turin-Lyon railway. The region President, Laurent Wauquiez, claimed that the money allocation is dependent on state investments in everyday mobility in the region. The French state has now until tomorrow, 30 January, to accept Wauquiez’s proposal.

Wauquiez pledge to inject an additional 20 million euros, bringing the total investment from the region to 33, as French media Le Figaro mentioned. Last week, worries surfaced about the missing funds for the French access routes to the Turin-Lyon line. Back then, Wauquiez claimed that the region had already invested enough money. However, a few days later, he made the decision to cover the financial gap, provided that some conditions will be met.

The main condition is that the French state matches the 100 million euros investment made by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to reactivate capillary lines and improve the overall infrastructure. The total cost of the studies for the Turin-Lyon access routes is set at 220 million euros. The European Union has already allocated 90 million euros. The remaining 130 million are supposed to be put out by France. The government promised to find 65 million euros, but has so far only managed to gather 25 and offered to add 20. With the addition made by the region, Wauquiez thinks it will be possible to complete the file.

A troubled history for Turin-Lyon French access routes

The story of the access routes to the French section of the Turin-Lyon heated up at the beginning of 2023, when a report from the Orientation Council of Infrastructure suggested prioritising other projects. In April, dozens of French senators urged President Emmanuel Macron to boost the project. In June, the French government finally decided to invest up to three billion euros for the Turin-Lyon, which is where the funds for the studies of the access routes will come.

Not only access routes at risk

However, the problems surrounding the Turin-Lyon project do not stop at the access routes for France. The country is running the risk of losing significant funds from the Connecting Europe Facility for the co-financing of the Final Preliminary Project. All these issues are amplified by the lack of a Minister of Transport, caused by the resignation of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in early January. The deadline to apply for CEF funds, 30 January, is creeping up, and a decision does not seem to have been taken yet. On the other hand, Italy secured 44 million euros from CEF for building its access routes already in June.

Map of the future Turin-Lyon railway. Image: © TELT

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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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