Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has confirmed his support to the controversial Turin-Lyon high-speed rail project, which has been a source of tension between the coalition partners of the government.
Prime Minister Conte, who earlier expressed doubts over the project, said that he changed his opinion as stalling the project will be costlier for Italy than completing it.
The 270km-long high-speed rail line, also known as TAV, will connect the Italian city of Turin with Lyon in France, running through the Alps.
Conte said that the European Union (EU) has also offered to increase its contribution to cover 55% of total costs for the project, instead of the earlier agreed 40%.
As France already confirmed, unilateral withdrawal from the project by Italy will result in a financial penalty.
The Prime Minister’s comment comes just days before the expiry of the deadline set by the EU to accept its funding for the project.
The Turin-Lyon high-speed rail project has been a major source of contention between the two parties of the ruling coalition. The 5-Star Movement has opposed the project, while its partner the League party has been a major proponent of the rail link.
Earlier this year, Italy suspended the tenders for the project due to growing differences between the partners.
Following the Prime Minister Conte comments, 5-Star’s leader Luigi di Maio said that the party will continue to oppose the project in parliament.
In February, a report commissioned by the Italian Government said that the TAV project will not be profitable. Outweighing the benefits, the project would result in a loss of around €7bn by 2059, the report stated.