Will the Turin-Lyon project be stopped?
Over 150 French public personalities have signed a letter asking to stop the construction of the Turin-Lyon railway tunnel and redirect the investments toward exiting trains and routes. The letter was published in Reporterre, an independent French media outlet, on 20 December. The signatories include the mayors of Lyon and Grenoble, as well as Members of the European Parliament.
The signatories of the letter accuse the proponents of the project to have decreased trains between France and Italy by five times. Moreover, they claim that 200 million euros intended for rail in the Alps have been used to finance the Frejus road tunnel. Another accusation included in the letter is that no trucks have been taken off the road, despite the existing rail line being 30 per cent cheaper than using the road. Finally, they are pointing out that the project is having a significant environmental impact, especially on the forest in Maurienne.
The signatories’ demands
First and foremost, the signatories are demanding that the existing railway should be used again at the same pace it had in the 2000s. Moreover, they want the money that would be invested in the Turin-Lyon tunnel to be diverted immediately to open a road-to-rail loading platform in the Ambérieu-en-Bugey area, east of Lyon.
They are also demanding that the 20 million euros of yearly profit from the Mont-Blanc road tunnel be exclusively used to finance the shift from road to rail. In addition, they want that the 200 million euros spent so far on the Frejus road tunnel over the past 10 years to be returned to the railways. For example, they proposed to increase capacity on existing lines in the area around Lyon, including Aix-les-Bains – Annecy, La Roche-sur-Foron – Saint-Gervais, and Saint-André-le-Gaz – Chambéry
The signatories are demanding that, in 2023, companies involved in road transportation in the area should be offered rail shuttle options. Finally, they are asking for the “decision to open the safety gallery of the Fréjus road tunnel to be canceled and that the latter be reserved exclusively for emergency vehicles”.