Lyon-Turin high-speed rail link agreement

5th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 5 (AFP) - France and Italy on Wednesday signed an agreement on the financing of a EUR 12 billion (USD 14.6 billion) transalpine high-speed rail link between the cities of Lyon and Turin.

PARIS, May 5 (AFP) - France and Italy on Wednesday signed an agreement on the financing of a EUR 12 billion (USD 14.6 billion) transalpine high-speed rail link between the cities of Lyon and Turin.

The memorandum of understanding, signed during a visit to Paris by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, depends upon a 20-percent subsidy from the European Union for the international part of the link, French officials said.

Berlusconi, who lunched with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, was on Wednesday celebrating his government's record as the longest-serving administration in Italy since World War II.

He was later to meet with French President Jacques Chirac.

Lyon and Turin are separated by the Alps mountain chain and the railway is expected to pass through a 52-kilometer (33-mile) tunnel. The total cost of the project has been estimated at EUR 12 billion.

On the eve of the Paris talks, Italian Transport Minister Pietro Lunardi said Berlusconi would push Raffarin to accept the deal, noting: "We want to make this link a reality and we are ready to make sacrifices to finance it."

Lunardi, who signed the memorandum on Wednesday with French Transport Minister Gilles de Robien, told the daily La Stampa that the cost would be split 50-50 for part of the line and 60-40 for other sections, with Italy bearing the brunt of the investment.

The high-speed Lyon-Turin rail link is part of the so-called Corridor Five project to connect the Portuguese capital Lisbon with Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, which is located more than 3,400 kilometers away.

Officials hope that the French-Italian train link will help relieve heavy truck traffic in the Alpine tunnels connecting the two countries.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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