Road haulers up in arms: “Decree must be revised”

Genoa - Businesses and the road haulage sector have their sights trained on the Italian government. In their crosshairs is the special “Genoa” decree, as well as the financial measures to be taken. At issue are the timelines of the Morandi bridge’s reconstruction

Genoa - Businesses and the road haulage sector have their sights trained on the Italian government. In their crosshairs is the special “Genoa” decree, as well as the financial measures to be taken.

The day was marked by the explosion of the basis spread beyond 300bps and a frenzied race to modify the text of emergency provisions designed to replenish funds for ports, and the road haulage and logistics sectors, all affected by the collapse of the Morandi bridge.

“The willingness to keep road links strong in Italy and to promote sustainable mobility needs to be upheld,” attacked the president of Confcommercio Carlo Sangalli at the opening of the Cernobbio International Forum. “Italy as a whole, starting from Genoa and Liguria, continues to require fast, efficient and safe connections.”

At issue are the timelines, and here Sangalli sides with the citizens of Valpolcevera as they took to the streets to protest in Genoa, saying “We must make a stand right here to avoid losing an entire sector, one of fundamental importance for the economy and the growth prospects of the country.”

Vice President Paolo Uggè was even harsher: “The special decree that has been issued does not deal with the people affected by the tragic event, and does not accelerate the process of rapid reconstruction of the bridge, but rather seems to be designed to settle political scores. The result is that the issue of the bridge’s reconstruction, which concerns firstly Genoa’s citizens, the economy of its port, and of the nation, now risks facing heavy delays.”

According to the road haulage sector the situation has taken a heavy toll, and the measures announced are “insufficient.” “Completing such important work needs to either take place immediately or it likely will be years in the making,” warned Uggè. And road haulage cannot afford to waste any time.

In one of the drafts of the Genoa decree, 180 million had been earmarked. In this latest draft of the provision just 20 remain; “Too little, an insignificant amount. This draft of the decree must be carefully reviewed, unless they wish to make fun of the road haulage companies.”

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, called for the resignation of Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure (MIT), Danilo Toninelli, due to “his utter uselessness. The day following the tragedy I had expressed that there were amateurs out there trying to come to grips with the issues, and as the clock keeps ticking it’s clear that we were right.”

When pressed on the issue of cost-benefit analysis, with which the government tasked him, Professor Marco Ponti, Minister Toninelli’s expert on infrastructures, ignited the debate: “The government entrusted me with the study, we need to determine that we’re not throwing away public funds,” he said from the stage.

Marco Rettighieri, commissioner at Cociv, the consortium that is building the Third Rail Pass, does not buy that; “We do not waste public money, we actually create jobs and generate income.” Bickering has now set in, but the backdrop has shades of political posturing; Ponti is finalizing the report that could spell the demise of the Third Rail Pass project.

While never speaking in specifics, the expert of Toninelli’s special commission does focus on the Giovi railway corridor when it comes to reviewing Italy’s list of large infrastructure works.

Ennio Cascetta, another academic hired by the MIT, and predecessor of Ponti, smiled slyly: “We had already produced our report, it was called project review.”

Although by evening the organizers of the event had distanced themselves, the mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci, and the Governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, were booed yesterday during the march by the inhabitants of Genoa’s Valpolcevera. “It’s understandable,” explained the President of the Region, attending the Forum. “People are worried. Our friends at Valpolcevera do not like feeling exploited. And politics in Italy tends to exploit everything. There’s concern, anguish, people are still homeless, businesses have seen their turnover reduced by two-thirds, an entire valley is experiencing trouble getting around, despite the extraordinary efforts to reopen the railway last Wednesday. Lines of dialogue with them are in place, we are there for them, both I and the mayor. Even Minister Toninelli was there. I don’t think anyone in this situation is trying to shirk responsibility, but there are still many concerns.”