Lombardy, a school case on Pnrr delays

Lombardy, a school case on Pnrr delays


Interventions on railway lines, stations for sustainable mobility, demolition of level crossings, new roads or maintenance of other existing sections. These are just some of the infrastructural and network works that in Lombardy have been financed with the Pnrr (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) and the Lombardy Plan, a set of interventions implemented by the Region. As with all works related to European resources, however, there are deadlines to be respected, under penalty of non-financing.

So, where do we stand with the 2026 deadline? A rather discouraging picture emerges from a dossier commissioned to the Study Center for inter-municipal planning of the metropolitan area (Pim) by the Filt CGIL trade union: of the 183 approved plans (43 concern the railways, 36 concern rapid mass transport, i.e. public transport, and 104 roads) only 42 are expected to be completed by 2026, 29 have delays for the 2026 deadline and 112 instead will go beyond.

Let's hit the streets. "Based on the assessments made on the construction times, it is believed that around 24% of the works relating to the road network in Lombardy will probably be completed by 2026, while a further 20%, for which the same timescale would be hoped, appears decidedly later - reads the report - Therefore, it emerges that well over half of the interventions will be completed after the date set by the Pnrr " .

The resources in the field are important: only for mobility and sustainable infrastructures from the Pnrr to the Lombardy Region as of December 2021, 2.5 billion euros have been allocated, equal to 9.94% of the territorialized resources of the Mims (Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility, ed.). On the other hand, 2.23 billion will come from the Lombardy Plan for mobility infrastructures, ranging from the redevelopment of the road system to interventions aimed at guaranteeing the accessibility of the works for the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics (to which 0.57 billion of Euro). The resources of the Pnrr must be used for projects and interventions to be carried out no later than 2026, and, as stated in the dossier, "the request and obtaining of the European funding due on a six-monthly basis can only take place against the effective achievement of goals and objectives" .

But why have delays accumulated?

"The main problem remains the cost of the works - explains the engineer Maria Evelina Scaracchi of PIM who oversaw the dossier - The Pnrr opportunity has unlocked, together with that of the Olympics, a series of funding but often the costs of the works in the various phases increase, especially today if we think of the war and energy crisis situation. necessary financial". In addition to the problems related to costs for the particular period we are living in, there are others of a bureaucratic nature, such as the real times for approval and development.

There is also a question of lack of dialogue with the territories where those works will persist: "In some cases, the environmental impacts of the interventions are not adequately taken into account in the planning phase, which are often highlighted in course of work, and to mitigate them we resort to design changes that involve additional costs, in addition to the lack of consent from the territories", says Scaracchi. The trade unions denounce a lack of involvement: "There are delays in infrastructure and transport and this happens when we have not even been summoned by the Region once on these issues - explains Luca Stanzione, secretary of Filt CGIL Lombardia -. We would have liked greater involvement " .

In general, 70 works then concern redevelopment and upgrading or maintenance on site and have to deal with the impossibility of interrupting a service. "Some of the interventions, such as the railway ones, insist on an already existing network and involve the construction of works maintaining, for example, the operation of the railway service" continues Scaracchi.

Among the works that are delayed for 2026 according to the published dossier we find the New Becca bridge and the fourth lane A1 Milano Sud-Lodi while in those that will go further we find the E-Brt connection with electric buses in the Bergamo-Dalmine-Verdello preferential lane and the extension of the service public transport on the M5 Settimo Milanese-A50 Tangenziale Ovest-Cornaredo-Magenta (typological and route alternatives). Of those included in the annexes defined as essential for the Olympics, for example, among those delayed are the works for the suppression of the 16 level crossings of the Milan-Tirano line, which insist on state road 38.

And the Olympics?

A part of the works financed with the Pnrr are included, according to the experts, in an ecosystem useful for making the event that in 2026 will bring many trips to the Region, i.e. the Winter Olympics, function properly of Milan-Cortina. It was the Minister of Infrastructure himself, Matteo Salvini, who admitted the hitches last January 16, convening a control room at the Pirellone with Coni and the ministries involved: "The dates also need to be set on the ground for the Pnrr, and we know about this too already realistically that some works will not arrive in time. We will try to run" . However, as regards the Winter Games, reassurances had arrived, from the Lombard governor Attilio Fontana and also from Salvini: "I count that the majority of the works in the dossier finish within the deadlines" .

Even if the leader of the League had highlighted a not insignificant paradox: "We found some structures connected to the Olympics for which the expiry times of the contract signed with the company were after 2026, bizarre as what: for a road infrastructure for the 2026 Olympics, work delivery date 2027" . Turin could also come to help to organize a sort of "Alpine Olympics".

In this regard, we were wondering what the fate of speed skating will be: will it go to Baselga di Piné (in Trento) or to the Turin Oval? "There is already an infrastructure ready in Turin, I don't see why not use that, instead of wasting 100 million in Baselga. We should also think about the post-event event, as was the case for the Expo, where today I see a neighborhood that attracts brains , for the first time in Italy, and not a desolate area or a parking lot" Salvini explained in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore. Still the Northern League minister, after the control room he specified: "I met the managing director of Milano Cortina, Andrea Varnier, we hope to recover the lost ground, now we have to run" , and again "We are doing everything possible so that at least the strategic infrastructures finish in good time for athletes and citizens". The increase in costs for raw materials has been defined as significant by the minister himself and estimated at around 30%. The appointment to understand the progress and status of the works will arrive every month: the next one in Veneto is scheduled for February 27 and will be a significant date for understanding the real data related to the Winter Games. For that day, in fact, "every work connected to the Olympics will have to have times, costs and possible problems. There are 1116 days to go The goal is to have all the sports infrastructures and not just completed because there will be around 5 billion euros of related activities", concludes Salvini.

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