InvestEU supports sustainable transport in Italy: €3.4 billion to modernise the Palermo-Catania railway line
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €2.1 billion to modernise 178 km of the Palermo-Catania railway line in Italy. This will reduce current travel times by a third, linking the two cities with a direct two-hour rail service for freight and passenger trains, with a significant positive impact on economic and social development and sustainable mobility in Sicily. The infrastructure is part of the Scandinavia-Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
The operation is divided into a direct €800 million loan by the EIB to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and a €1.3 billion counter-guarantee by the EIB, designed with Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, in favour of the financial intermediaries Intesa Sanpaolo and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. The €1.3 counter-guarantee is backed by the InvestEU programme and enables the guarantees to be doubled to €2.6 billion. When added to the financing granted to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, this brings the value of the resources activated with this operation to €3.4 billion.
This sum will complement financing to be provided under the NextGenerationEU Recovery and Resilience Facility to support investments in sustainable mobility infrastructure in Italy for the Palermo-Catania railway line.
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “The European Union continues to support major investments in Italy’s rail network. With today’s agreement, the European Investment Bank, supported by InvestEU, will complement the significant financing already committed through NextGenerationEU to upgrade the Palermo-Catania line. This project is of huge importance for the island: it will provide Sicilians with faster and greener transportation between their two major urban centres, spurring economic development and job creation. I am proud of the key role that Europe is playing in making it a reality.”
Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport, said: “This large-scale investment will enable great steps to be taken towards completing the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), increasing the connectivity in Sicily and directly benefiting its citizen and businesses. We want to double high-speed rail traffic by 2030, as we set out in our Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. This initiative supports that ambition. It also showcases the complementarity between the EU transport policy and EU financial tools: InvestEU and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.”