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August 8, 2019

Italian Senate approves high-speed rail link with France

The Italian Senate has approved the long-contested tranzAlpine high-speed rail link with France, which is opposed by one of the ruling coalition partners.

The Italian Senate has approved the long-contested tranzAlpine high-speed rail link with France, which is opposed by one of the ruling coalition partners.

The Senate rejected a motion brought by the opposing 5-Star Movement, deepening its rift with the other coalition partner, the League, which supports the construction of the rail line.

According to a Reuters report, the motion was rejected by 181 votes to 110. Subsequently, another motion, brought by the opposition Democratic Party to support the project, was passed 180 to 109 in favour.

With the Senate approval, construction works of the high-speed rail project are expected to continue.

The 270km project, also known as TAV, will connect the Italian city of Turin with Lyon in France.

Last month, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte voiced his support for the project, stating that unilaterally blocking it will be more costly for Italy than completing it.

He also confirmed a larger contribution from the European Union (EU) to build the line, reducing Italy’s share.

The TAV project was first planned thirty years ago. However, it saw little progress due to continued protests and disagreements.

The 5-Star party opposes it over environmental concerns and favours spending the money on improving Italy’s existing transport infrastructure.

However, the League says that the TAV will create jobs and boost economic growth, as well as help reduce traffic carbon emissions by shifting freight from road to rail.

Earlier this year, an Italian Government-commissioned report said that the TAV project will not be profitable. It stated that the project would result in a loss of around €7bn by 2059, outweighing all benefits.

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