On 11 November 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Laura Ferrara of the Non-attached Members posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“As reported already in the answers to questions E-002756-19 and P-002009/2020, the major project for an overground light railway link between Cosenza, Rende and the University of Calabria is a source of major concern for the Commission, as well as for all the public in Calabria, given the large sum, approximately EUR 160 million, allocated to the project as funding for its realisation.
From the answer to the last question it was learnt that the managing authority had written to the Commission at the end of February 2020, informing it that estimated costs had risen by an additional EUR 60 million. This increase called into question, therefore, the economic viability of the project as analysed in 2012, a fact which, together with the serious delays in the project’s implementation led the managing authority to declare its intention to withdraw the project.
However, to date there is still no official news as to whether a decision has been made to either continue with the project as planned or to take up the option for alternative plans other than the metro-tram overground light railway link.
In light of the above and given the serious delays to the project, could the Commission answer the following questions:
1. Does the Commission know what the current state of play is on this project?
2. Has it now received an official request for the project to be withdrawn or for its financing to be readjusted?
3. Will it ask the managing authority to prepare urgently alternative plans to ward off the risk of losing the financing entirely?”
On 29 January 2021, Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “Through a recently approved programme amendment, the major project for an overground light railway link between Cosenza, Rende and the University of Calabria was withdrawn from the European Regional Development Fund — European Social Fund (ERDF-ESF) Calabria Operational Programme 2014-2020.
Funding was redirected to interventions in support of the health sector, small and medium-sized enterprises and education, to strengthen the regional response capacity to the COVID-19 crisis, in the framework of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus.”
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