We have now learnt some more about which proposed TGV lines may face cancellation by the new French government.
Many of these form part of the European Core Network Corridors (TEN-T Programme). Possible lines facing the axe include Lyon – Turin (Corridor 3), Bayonne – Bordeaux (Corridor 7), TGV Rhine – Rhône (Corridor 9) and Marseilles – Nice (other section of core network). The criteria for possible cancellation appear to be based on how much time saving can be provided in relation to the investment required. A large investment resulting in a small time saving will make the project more likely to be cancelled. This could be described as a benefit cost ratio. A prioritisation of projects will be made by the end of this year.
The François Hollande led government was elected on a promise of growth. Although France’s debt has not been in the spotlight that has shone on Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, its public debt is substantial. Jérôme Cahuzac the budget minister is sufficiently realistic to understand that some reduction in expenditure on TGV projects is necessary.
However across the border in Italy, a fight has been going on for twenty years in the Susa valley between action groups and the authorities. http://strugglesinitaly.wordpress.com/reappropriation/en-the-no-tav-struggle-in-the-susa-valley/ Last weekend a senior police officer was injured during a demonstration. However, if France decides to abandon its construction of the TGV from Lyon to the Italian border, will there be any point in the Italians building the remaining section to Turin? There is already a railway link from Lyon to Turin but it is not high speed.
The Italian government like many others in Southern Europe is making major budget cuts. It hasn’t yet seen fit to cancel its section of the Lyon – Turin high speed line. Maybe it should look to Portugal or Poland. The former has abandoned plans to build several high speed lines (including one which would have run from Lisbon to Madrid) and the latter decided not to build a high speed rail network at all. Both these countries have significant public debts and are probably aware that almost all high speed rail lines require ongoing subsidies.