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The New York Times has run a front page investigative story on the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa

The New York Times has run a front page investigative story on the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa and how privatization and weak government oversight contributed to it. “Beyond potential negligence,” the Times reports, “the case has exposed what critics say are deep systemic failings in how Italy privatized roadways. Autostrade reaped huge profits and acquired so much power that the state became a largely passive regulator. While no evidence has emerged that inspection findings were manipulated, the company effectively regulated itself—because Autostrade's parent company owned the inspection company responsible for safety checks on the Morandi Bridge. ‘The government was happy to leave the system to exploit drivers and share in the bounty produced by tolls,’ [Prof. Marco Ponti] said in a recent phone interview, having just headed a commission to assess the viability of a high-speed rail link with France. ‘And because it's a long concession, nobody is really looking at it, except bureaucrats and the superpower that is Autostrade,’ he added. ‘And they became close friends.’”

Source: www.nytimes.com

The Genoa bridge collapse is also the result of privatization and austerity

Writing in Jacobin, David Broder exposes the long history of corporate and political corruption, austerity mania and cover-ups that have eroded Italy’s privately-managed public infrastructure. “The bulk of Italy’s road infrastructure dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, including the Ponte Morandi. Since 1999, when it was sold off by Massimo d’Alema’s center-left government, the motorway network has been under the control of private interests. This was an act of asset stripping, as well as a reflection of the cult of ‘public-private partnerships’ so dear to Tony Blair–era European social democracy. As Five Star (M5S) leader Luigi di Maio himself pointed out after Tuesday’s disaster, the deal resulted in Italy having among the highest road tolls in Europe, managed by cost-cutting firms who pay low taxes in Luxembourg.”

Source: jacobinmag.com

The collapse of a bridge section in Genoa has raised questions about road privatization

The collapse of a bridge section in Genoa, which resulted in the deaths of at least 43 people, has raised questions about inadequate infrastructure investment in Italy and its deteriorating roads and bridges—and about road privatization, ‘public-private partnerships’ and long-term concessions. Elisa Moretti, an activist for Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), writes “the Genoa bridge collapse is Italy’s Grenfell—and the government is too busy scapegoating migrants to get to the bottom of why it happened. (…) However, it is hard to see how failings will be prevented in the future unless the logic of privatization is challenged. Italy has a history of poor infrastructure, bad urban planning and weak regulation, but privatization means that when disasters such as the collapse of Morandi Bridge happen, blame can simply be laid with the contractor and the problem of broader reform avoided.”

Source: The Independent