Genoa and Liguria: a look at PNRR projects

From the Terzo Valico stretch of high speed railway and tunnel, to the doubling of the Genoa-Ventimiglia rail link, major infrastructure projects are set to change the face of the region.

The G20 infrastructure meetings taking place in Genoa will shine a spotlight on the city and the surrounding region of Liguria, which is at the centre of infrastructure spending plans launched by Italy’s government with its PNRR, or National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility, aims to add to the Next Generation EU with traditional European funds, as well as with other resources that Italy will contribute by running a budget deficit. That way, the PNRR will be able to devote €62 billion ($71 billion) to infrastructure spending. For Liguria, that means finally completing such strategic projects such as the high-speed railway tunnel through the mountains known as the Terzo Valico dei Giovi – Nodo di Genova, and the enlargement of the Genoa-Ventimiglia railway. A new offshore breakwater, envisaged in the first version of the PNRR, was later removed from the PNRR because it will be financed by complementary funding.

A study called “Liguria 2030” carried out by The European House – Ambrosetti along with the Liguria Region calculated the economic impact of these and other works.  By 2023, the region should see an increase in GDP of €2.4 billion, ($2.8 billion) with a growth of 4.8%. The overall increase could reach a cumulative 17% in 2030, when the additional benefits for the economy will reach €8.5 billion ($9.9 billion).

Terzo Valico and Genova-Ventimiglia, two projects for Genoa

The Terzo Valico dei Giovi – Nodo di Genova is not only a strategic work for the future of Genoa and Liguria, but also the most ambitious infrastructure project currently underway in Italy. The Cociv Consortium led by the Webuild Group is building a stretch of high-speed line 53 kilometers (32 miles) long, 37 (22 miles) of which will be entirely in tunnels. The tunnels enable high-speed trains to travel from Genoa to Milan, and on to the rest of Europe through the TEN-T network that reaches Rotterdam. This line will be connected to the port of Genoa through a new railway junction, further promoting the development of the city’s logistics business.

In addition to completing the Terzo Valico railway tunnel, the doubling of the Genoa-Ventimiglia line will also be a key project in the PNRR. Increasing the transport capacity of the railway line that runs along the coast of western Liguria will make it possible to inaugurate another strategic artery that reaches the border with France, significantly decongesting road traffic.

The role of government commissioners

Before it approved the PNRR, the Italian government appointed 29 commissioners to speed up the completion of 57 public works projects worth a total value of €83 billion ($97 billion). These government-appointed officials will be responsible for cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that is preventing these works from moving forward on schedule.

The government’s goal is for the commissioners to coordinate with the presidents of regions where the works are located to expedite progress. There are three projects concerning Liguria: an offshore breakwater, the Genoa-Ventimiglia railway track-doubling, and doubling the rail track at Pontremoli, a town near Genoa. The new breakwater will allow Genoa and its port to host the largest ships in the world, without limiting access and docking. Above all, it is a crucial piece of the development plan to link the port of Genoa to the above-mentioned highspeed rail line.

Infrastructure to boost Liguria’s economy

According to research carried out by The European House – Ambrosetti, completing these works will call for an investment of €16.5 billion. ($19 billion). These include works now completed, such as the San Giorgio Bridge, built by Webuild Group, alongside works in progress such as those planned and financed by the PNRR.

These works are necessary to improve the region’s infrastructure, and to support the recovery of the economy. A study on the estimate of profits lost by Ligurian companies as a result of works on the regional freeway network, drawn up by the Chamber of Commerce of Genoa together with the University of Genoa, calculates €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in damage to the regional economy in 2020.

This gap must be closed if Liguria’s economy is to recover in a lasting way, thereby bringing Genoa back to the center of an international transport network that is strategic not only for the city but for the whole of Italy.