2. The volume of trade justifies the construction of the new line.
The new Lyon -Turin rail link is a priority project for the European Union within the development of the transeuropean rail networks. It is something more than a mere connection between Italy and France; it is the missing link in the intersection of two large axes of communication uniting Europe from North to South and from East to West.
The project has been developed by the Developers of the Lyon -Turin rail link on the basis of existing data relating to cross-border trade. Such data in particular show that all across the alpine region, road freight traffic doubled in MT-million tons between 1984 and 2010 to be followed by stagnation due to the present economic crisis.
The crisis has hit the Northern French-Italian Alps the hardest, with a reduction in the volume of traffic at the Mont Blanc and Frejus tunnels.
Nevertheless, the Lyon -Turin rail link project is to extend its service well beyond the Northern Alpine regions. When it becomes operational, it will make it possible to reorganize long-haul transport flows. The project also aims at reducing heavy truck traffic on the Mediterannean coast (1.3 million trucks a year use the Ventimiglia pass) and to absorbe part of the traffic crossing Switzerland.
Estimates for the future have been calculated on the basis of well established calculation methods and the EU official forecasts for economic growth. Since the infrastructure has a life cycle spanning over several hundred years, the growth outlook does not refer exclusively to data recorded over the past few years but it is rather based on long-run projections. Trade volumes are tipped to grow but not to stabilize.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that in spite of the economic difficulties, 40 to 50 million tons a year have been handled across the French-Italian Alps (between the lake Leman and the Mediterranean) over the past twenty years. At the global level, trade between France and Italy remains stable. The two countries have long been each other’s second trading partners ( supplier/customer).
The freight capacity of the new Lyon -Turin rail link will be tantamount to 40/50 million tons, passenger traffic excluded.
The project is therefore consistent with the current trade volumes. However, discussions over the long term growth scenarios for the future are perfectly justified.