On 5 February 2021, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Marco Campomenosi and Alessandro Panza of the Identity and Democracy Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“The province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola is a province in eastern Piedmont, bordering Switzerland to the north and along the route of the Rhine-Alpine TEN-T multimodal corridor. Although it is in a strategic position for the mobility of goods in Europe, the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola has a number of infrastructure weaknesses that limit its connectivity, having a negative impact on the entire corridor.
Indeed, the E62 international road from Milan to Geneva, which crosses the Simplon Pass, is not fully equipped with motorway infrastructure, because the A26 motorway ends in Gravellona Toce, and from there to the Italian-Swiss border there is a state expressway covering a distance of approximately 50 km. In addition, the railway tunnel linking the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola to the canton of Valais needs to be doubled, at least, in order to adapt its capacity and safety standards to the handling of more goods, including dangerous goods and so-called rolling highways.
In view of the 371% increase in heavy traffic along the Simplon Pass, does the Commission not consider it essential to increase the capacity and speed of the railway line? Does it not also agree that the TEN-T corridor cannot be fully functional unless connectivity is improved between the province in question and the canton of Valais?”
On 27 April 2021, Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The trans-European transport network (TEN-T) supports connectivity and accessibility for all regions of the Union. The core network includes the most important connections, linking the most important nodes. The comprehensive network covers all European regions.
Milan and the Lombardy region are connected to the North of the EU through the so-called Rhine-Alpine corridor. The Rhine-Alpine corridor constitutes one of the busiest freight routes in Europe connecting key North Sea ports with Italy. The regions it encompasses count among the most densely populated and economically strong in Europe.
The road infrastructure connecting Italy with Switzerland via the Simplon Pass is however not part of the TEN-T network. It is mostly used for regional supply in the Valais Canton. 68% of heavy traffic originates or ends in Valais, only 10% of the overall traffic on that route is heavy traffic. On the other hand, as outlined in the European Green Deal and in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the Commission has the ambition to shift a substantial amount of freight onto more sustainable modes of transport, in particular rail. In his last work plan for the Rhine-Alpine corridor the European Coordinator, Mr Pawel Wojciechowski, pointed out to the problem of rail capacity and the need to accelerate the implementation of railway projects at cross-border sections, including between Italy and Switzerland. In this context the functionality and capacity of cross-border sections is of utmost importance. The deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System takes place on the section Domodossola-Novara. This project aims at improving the capacity of the railway line and it is partly co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility programme.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/train-railway-s-bahn-transport-797072/