Ponte sul Stretto, the return of Matteo Renzi: “To overcome poverty, you need more than emergency income”. From the Romans to Berlusconi: history of the work never built (and already cost 312 million)

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“To overcome the challenge of poverty, we need more bridge over the Strait that the emergency income“. Word of Matteo Renzi that in his latest book (The horse’s move, out for Marsilio in these days) the public debate on the great infrastructure officially reopens. After months of lockdown, the political focus finally departs from COVID-19 to start from a “brand new” topic: the stable link between Sicily and Calabria. Renzi ‘s quote, with the book’ s advances published not by chance on the Southern Gazette, Messina newspaper, brought the stainless theme of the Bridge back to the center of political discussion. It does not matter if in the meantime the work ever built has already cost the state coffers the beauty of 312 million euros. Dario Franceschini, pressed on by the point Corriere della Sera, failed to deny. On the contrary: he implicitly returned to evoke the project. “Now that the money is there, we must have the courage to imagine two great choices. On the one hand, the high speed that reaches Sicily, up to Catania and Palermo. ” The journalist from the via Solferino newspaper sniffed the moment: “Does your project include the bridge?”. The government official did not deny: “Well – he said – high-speed trains will have to cross the Strait. But costs and benefits will have to be seen of all alternative solutions “.

In the beginning were the Romans – It is the definitive relaunch of the question of the Bridge on the Strait of Messina. A millennial debate, since we must go back even to Lucio Cecilio Metello and to the ancient Romans to find traces of the first attempts to cross between the two sides: they tried – without success – with barrels arranged in a row. It was the 250 BC, two thousand and seventy years before Renzi’s last literary effort. There querelle Ponte yes / Ponte no on the other hand, it has been an object of fascination for many, even for Uncle Scrooge who, in a Disney comic published in 1982, made his personal promise to build the infrastructure: within six months.

The Renzians in the front row: “The time to make the bridge is now” – Today, the announcement by Trenitalia: from June on Red Arrow will come up to Reggio Calabria. In ten hours and 50 minutes the high-speed trains will go up Italy from Calabria to Piedmont, passing through Naples, Rome, Florence is Milan. Same time for the reverse journey, which however will stop in Reggio: Sicily remains far away. Perfect opportunity to return to talk about Ponte. The last time had happened in 2015, when Renzi was still in Palazzo Chigi. “The time is now”, he is still sure today Davide Pharaoh, which raises the claims contained in its leader’s book. And announce that Italy alive is already ready to speak in Parliament. “The high speed will arrive in Reggio Calabria – says the group leader at Palazzo Madama of the small party of Renzi – it is incredible and unfair that it cannot even reach Palermo. There advantage taxation for Sicily before the coronavirus it was a utopia, but now it is possible and we we will present a bill and a amendment to the relaunch decree under discussion in Parliament. The state aid rules are being reviewed at the moment, in consultation with the EU, we must intervene. No taxes for a specified period for all companies that invest in Sicily and Sardinia and create jobs. “

Pure Margiotta agrees – He thinks like Pharaoh, Salvatore Margiotta, Undersecretary of the Pd to Infrastructures: “It seems very interesting to me the opening with respect to the Bridge over the Strait, an ambitious engineering work, on which a country like Italy should finally develop a non ideological debate up to the challenges facing us the future, above all, from the point of view of the indispensable infrastructure development of our country “. To claim the historical position of Come on Italy on the subject, the deputy thinks about it Matilde Siracusano, Berlusconi from Messina who ironically applauds Franceschini: “Well, welcome to the right side. We at Forza Italia cannot forget the fire in line against President Berlusconi and against our governments in the years in which we had not only proposed the construction of the bridge, but started all the necessary procedures so that it could become reality in the shortest possible time “.

Provenzano: “First think about the rest” – However, the Minister for the South, the Sicilian, disagrees Giuseppe Provenzano: “Shock by definition should intervene in the immediate future and beyond the bridge, here we should redo the design. It is a medium-term speech, on which I really do not have an ideological position as I have already said. But in the meantime we have to start the rest: the Mit Plan in the South Plan mobilizes further 33 billion in the three years. Let’s focus on this. ” The minister’s reference is obviously great unfinished Southern, which abound in Sicily. The regional government recently asked a pool of lawyers to take legal action against them Anas. The reason? The long times, indeed biblical, of the completion of road sections. Marco Falcone, Sicilian councilor for Infrastructures, gave a practical example: “To open the B4B lot, the road between Nicosia and Mistretta, we have been waiting for an activation of a trivial control unit of Enel“. But it is only an example, the simplest, of a long list of unfinished: “La Catania – Palermo it’s a go-cart track – attacks the commissioner – and it’s not a metaphor: there are 2 billion and a half of funds completely blocked from the inefficiency of Anas “. A list that starts from the so-called road of writers between Agrigento and Caltanissetta – “blocked for two years”, still underlines Falcone – and goes as far as Himera bridge, which collapsed 5 years ago in Catania-Palermo and has not yet reopened to traffic (the reopening has recently been further postponed). A bureaucratic slowness that would bring down any hope of even seeing the creation of a pharaonic work such as the bridge, but which does not make the Sicilian government lose heart: “We claim responsibility for doing things, so we asked for the Commissioner of Anas on 8 lots – concludes the commissioner – and we remain convinced that the bridge is an essential work to give a boost to the economy of the island and restart all the infrastructure works “. On the other hand, the governor only a few months ago In the Musumeci he even called for a popular referendum on large infrastructure.

Never built, but it cost 312 million – On the other hand, what will it be five years to restore the highway viaduct between Palermo and Catania, compared to the millennial debate on the connection between the Calabria and the Sicily. Where the ads are lost over the centuries. In order not to go too far back in memory, just stop at 1984: Orwell it has nothing to do with it, but more trivially the then minister for extraordinary interventions in the South, Claudio Signorile, who announced the construction of the bridge “by 1994”. Then in 2001 here Silvio Berlusconi include the project in the now unforgettable “contract with the Italians”. So it was that in 2005 the design will be entrusted to Impregilo. Work was scheduled to begin on 2007 with the project ready in 2012, for an expected cost of the work around 3.88 billion euros. In fact, in 2012 there was not even a pylon: in that year, however, the Strait of Messina Spa is put into liquidation. Created in 1981 with the aim of building the bridge, it has cost the state coffers in 30 years more than 312 million euros. The liquidation was to last just one year: today, eight years later, it has not yet been completed, even if from Anas they ensure there is nothing active left, apart from the liquidator. Appointed in 2013 with a fee of 174 thousand euros until 2014, was supposed to complete the company’s liquidation six years ago. Which did not happen, for the simple fact that it cannot happen: the procedure cannot be completed until the civil judgment on penalties. To boast them for the “loss of earnings” against the state, they are Impregilo (now Webuild) and Parson Trasportation Group, general contractor and project manager respectively. A judicial battle in a civilian seat that suggests times that are anything but short. So in the meantime why not raise the topic in the political debate? It’s just the umpteenth time since Roman times.

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