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Italy's high-speed train line under the Alps gathers pace | World news | The Guardian

It is a project of extravagant dimensions and it has been blocked for almost 20 years by a protest of epic tenacity and occasional violence.

But this week, Italian plans for a 35-mile rail link under the Alps, four miles longer than the Channel tunnel and linking Turin to Lyons, will move into a new and possibly decisive phase.

Officials are due to expropriate a stretch of sloping grassland near the Alpine village of Chiomonte, outside Turin, where work will begin on Italy's side of the border. The first planned excavation is of an access tunnel to allow geologists to test conditions.

When the site was fenced off last summer, almost 400 people were injured in the resulting clashes between demonstrators and police. Twenty-six people accused of taking part in the violence have since been jailed.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 04:32:42 PM EST
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The article doesn't really expain what the problem is much beyond it's an awful lot of money to spend arriving 3/4 of an hour earlier between Turn and Lyon. Anyone know ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 06:58:33 AM EST
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by asdf on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 10:10:30 AM EST
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It's always been a bit of a mystery to me, indistinguishable from nimbyism, and has caused strained relations between the Greens on either side of the Alps.

For the record, the Rhone-Alpes Greens (French side) have always given qualified sceptical support to the line : As a prestige passenger service (which is how it's traditionally been sold) it's a bust, passenger numbers could never justify the fabulous cost; as an integrated multi-modal freight line, it could be a boon, but that is not how it's currently being developed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 10:38:59 AM EST
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Doesn't the anti's argument revolve around the fact that the existing line isn't heavily used and so the freight argument doesn't fly.

That said, it seems they've been protesting against this for so long that the reasons have mutated and changed along the way to suit the times. So you end up with a 2 decade long smorgasbord trail of reasons to oppose it, which results in the confusing mess we face now.

That said, there's something of Stuttgart 21 about the reason to build. I mean, they actually say it's part of a plan to link N Italy with eastern europe, which cuases much head scratching here

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:25:28 AM EST
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well Switzerland has succeeded in putting a bigly proportion of transalpine freight on trains. It cost a huge amount, but the business case is sound, and the environmental impact profound. Until you have attempted this, talking about the small volume of freight on the existing rail link is meaningless. And it's precisely because of the lack of such a plan that the French Greens' support for the tunnel is nuanced and conditional. There is a huge amount of freight going through the Mont Blanc and Modena road tunnels, and around the Mediterannean coast, that could be poked through the rail tunnel.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:44:26 AM EST
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There's huge opposition to high speed rail among the Italian rabble-rousing left. Check Beppe Grillo of whom melo has posted a good number of excerpts.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:24:29 AM EST
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example

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:26:43 AM EST
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Do they have a good reason or is it like the Irish 'left' opposing property taxes on "principle"? Electoral opportunism.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:27:13 AM EST
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It's not electorally motivated. It's longstanding. I remember going to a Beppe Grillo stand-up show in Florence in 1993 or thereabouts and he was already going on about the ecological an economic reasons why it's madness. You can basically assume that the "Italian Green Left" will oppose it as a big money boondoggle.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:30:54 AM EST
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"We're against it because The Man is for it"

I could understand this insofar as any big public-works project in Italy (not only in the south) is under suspicion of being an excuse for corruption and mafia business operations. But that's not what they are talking about.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:37:33 AM EST
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"We're against it because The Man is for it"

Pretty much. It's "a version of NIMBYism".

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:40:36 AM EST
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Oppositionism has a long and dishonourable history

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:45:55 AM EST
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