Financing mechanisms for the cross-border section
The financing mechanisms for infrastructure works in Italy, France and Europe vary widely from each other and conform each to their own regulations.
The cross-border section of the Lyon-Turin freight and passenger line, which has a certified cost of 8.6 billion euros, is financed 40% by the European Union, 35% by Italy and 25% by France, in accordance with specific procedures that have always guaranteed full financial coverage of the planned activities.
The EU’s contribution
The European contribution is effected through the Grant Agreement, the agreement drawn up between the EU, Italy and France within the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The current programme signed by the two countries with INEA, the agency responsible for financing EU programmes, provides for a first tranche of funding of €814 million, out of the €1.915 billion of work to be carried out by 2022. The EU has recently opened up the possibility of increasing its contribution on cross-border projects up to 50% with +5% possible in view of the bi-national management of TELT.
This is a strong commitment on the part of the EU, which is active in the implementation of the nine corridors of the TEN-T network to unite the entire continent by rail in an agile, high-performance and non-polluting manner. It has also expressed its intention to adopt an “implementation decision” on the Lyon-Turin line, to include the project in a planning process able to guarantee priority status for financing.
France, instead, has an annual financing mechanism: each year it commits the sums for which it is responsible through specific agreements signed between the Agence de financement des infrastructures de France (Afitf) and TELT, on the basis of the planning provided by the public promoter.
The agreements signed to date (March 2021) have allocated a total of €1.4 billion, more than half of the total funding from the French side.
In Italy, the funding is being provided in the form of five construction lots: more than EUR 2.5 billion were allocated in the 2012 Finance Act and in the subsequent 2021 and 2022 Finance Acts almost another EUR 415 million out of the total EUR 3.3 billion to be paid by the Italian State, net of the 40% planned European co-financing.
These funds, together with the European contributions allocated under the first Grant Agreement, cover the construction lots 1,2 and 4, which include: a part of the base tunnel, some associated works, as well as the above ground works in France and in Italy.
The CIPE resolution of 7 August 2017 approved the coverage of the costs of the first two lots, formally committing to the overall coverage of the project for the remaining three lots. In February 2022, the CIPESS gave the green light to cover the 4th construction lot with an allocation of EUR 414.68 million for the above ground works in the Susa plain, Italy.
The Programme Contract signed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and TELT regulates the obligations and plans the infrastructure requirements and the financial needs of the project.