Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018

Italian govt approves two more years of Messina bridge tests


Rome, November 1 - The Italian government has
decided not to cancel a long-awaited and controversial bridge
project that would connect Sicily to mainland Italy, but to
extend feasibility tests for another two years.
In a cabinet meeting that went into early hours Thursday,
ministers met to discuss cancellation of the Messina bridge
project, named after the narrow strait between Sicily and the
The planned 8.5-billion-euro suspension bridge was the
brainchild of the ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.
The technocrat government of Premier Mario Monti, who
replaced Berlusconi after he was forced to step down during a
peak in the euro crisis last November, has said the project "was
not a priority" given the current economic climate.
"This decision," said a statement Thursday, "is motivated
by the need to reduce public spending, given the unfavorable
international economic situation".
The cabinet also noted that the bridge did not qualify for
European Union co-financing, as it does not fall within "the
strategic guidelines on trans-European corridors".
Environmental group Legambiente blasted the "flawed"
decision of the government to kick the issue down the road for
the next administration, while "wasting money in the meantime on
useless tests".
"The only winner in this case is the (pro-bridge) lobby,"
said Legambiente Vice-President Edoardo Zanchini.
Supporters hail the bridge as a huge job-creation scheme
that would give Italy's image a major boost while bringing
Sicily closer to the mainland in both physical, psychological
and social terms.
But it has been opposed by environmentalists and dogged
by concerns over its safety and fears of potential Mafia
The 3,690-metre-long bridge has been designed to be able
to handle 4,500 cars an hour and 200 trains a day and would
replace slow ferry services between the island and the

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