France-Italy High-Speed Rail Link May Be Scrapped, Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said that all options are on the table on the future of a high-speed trail link between Italy and France, including pulling back from the project.

The multi-billion-euro undertaking, dubbed TAV, would connect Turin and Lyon via a 60-kilometer (37-mile) tunnel below the Alps upon its completion in 2030 but has been the object of dogged, sometimes violent, protests by locals and activists from the start. Politicians from Toninelli’s Five Star Movement have often called for its cancellation and the coalition agreement underpinning Italy’s populist government calls for a review.

An independent study presented to the Italian cabinet in May estimated the cost of construction at more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in penalties and contracts.

Five Star is one of the two coalition partners in the government that took office on June 1 along with the anti-immigrant League led by Matteo Salvini.

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