Genoa bridge collapse: Shock graph shows how Italy SLASHED investment in infrastructure — Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

Genoa bridge collapse: Shock graph shows how Italy SLASHED investment in infrastructure


While the country is mourning the dozens of dead caused by the collapse of the Morandi bridge, Italian politicians are working to find those responsible for the tragedy.

An alarming graph shows the stark decrease of investments made by Italy in the last decade.

Rome was, in 2007, one of the European countries spending more in its infrastructures, according to OECD data.

But the money allocated to that area was more than halved in 2010, going from £12.23bn (€13,66bn) to less than £2.69bn (€3bn). 

There can be no trade-off between fiscal rules and the safety of Italians

Matteo Salvini

For the following five years, Italy spent between €4-5bn on a yearly basis, starting to pouring more money into its infrastructures only in 2015, when it spent £4.61bn (€5.15bn).

In the same year, Germany, France and the UK spent almost double that sum, investing respectively £10.46bn (€11.69bn), £8.96bn (€10.01bn) and £8.12bn (€9.07bn).

Interior minister Matteo Salvini and deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio accused Benetton, the group behind the private company operating many of the country’s infrastructures, Autostrade Per L’Italia, of pocketing profits instead of investing money for maintenance.

The pair also called for the resignation of the top management of the company. 

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genoa bridge collapse italy maintenance works investments salvini conte

And Giuseppe Conte, the Prime Minister, said the government will revoke the concession of managing the public infrastructures and roads.

Mr Salvini also accused the European Union of limiting the chance of Italy of spending money on maintenance works.

Speaking about the EU budget deficit limit, which set a maximum ceiling of three percent of a country’s GDP, he said: “If external constraints prevent us from spending to have safe roads and schools, then it really calls into question whether it makes sense to follow these rules.

“There can be no trade-off between fiscal rules and the safety of Italians.” 

genoa bridge collapse italy maintenance works investments salvini conte

genoa bridge collapse italy maintenance works investments salvini conte

Mr Salvini received the support of financial minister Giovanni Tria, who said Italy is set to spend as many as £44.76bn (€50bn), to strengthen the safety of the country’s infrastructures.

Local politician had warned before the tragedy of the danger posed by the 51-year-old bridge.

And in December 2016, Genoan newspaper Il Secolo XIX claimed maintenance of bridges in the area had been lacking funds because authorities “preferred to allocate more funds to new works”.

The paper accused officials in Liguria, the region controlling the city of Genoa and its surrounding, of only making important restorations when issues with bridges had become obvious.

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Mr Di Maio’s party, the Five Star Movement, has also been accused of undermining the danger a lack a maintenance could have sparked.

In 2014, a group called Comitato No Gronda backed by the Five Star branded the collapse as a “fairy story” while opposing repair work as a “waste of money”. 

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