Italy revives plans to build world’s largest suspension bridgeMarch 6th, 2009 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS
Rome, March 6 (DPA) For long a pet project of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a plan to build the world’s largest suspension bridge linking Sicily to Italy’s mainland was revived Friday by the Italian government.
The cabinet meeting in Rome approved a 17.8-billion-euro ($22.4 billion) public works programme including new rail links, motorways and tunnels.
Some 1.3 billion euros have been earmarked for the bridge project which is estimated to be worth a total of 6.1 billion euros.
Speaking ahead of the cabinet meeting, Infrastructure Minister Altero Matteoli said the public works programme would create some 140,000 jobs, and help boost Italy’s recession-battered economy.
Matteoli said that in the 1970s Italy came second in Europe among countries involved in infrastructure projects, but is now 19th out of 27 European Union member states.
Billionaire-turned-politician Berlusconi pushed plans to build the nearly 4 km road-and-rail bridge over the Messina Straits during his previous stint in government in 2001-2006.
But the project, then estimated to be worth 4.4-billion-euros and scheduled for completion in 2012, was shelved by the subsequent centre-left government which said it was not a priority for the country.
Supporters of the bridge say its construction would help boost development in Sicily and other parts of Italy’s relatively impoverished south.
But opponents including many environmentalists say the money would be better spent improving local motorways and infrastructure.
- Italy to build the world's largest suspension bridge - Feb 26, 2009
- Italian ministers post salaries online - Feb 22, 2012
- WikiLeaks cable reveals Berlusconi's efforts to avoid Bono tongue-lashing - Dec 18, 2010
- Italy wine exports beat home consumption for first time - Apr 08, 2011
- 24,000 Italian government employees to lose jobs - Jul 11, 2012
- Italy's industrial output suffers steep October decline - Dec 09, 2011
- `Berlusconi wanted to hike foreign aid to avoid Bono's anger' - Dec 18, 2010
- Mario Monti sworn in as Italian premier - Nov 17, 2011
- Italy to give Libyan rebels 500 mn euros - Sep 02, 2011
- Italian Police seize 'mafia assets' worth $1.9 bn - Sep 15, 2010
- Italian economy contracts in Q3 - Dec 22, 2011
- Silvio's spendthrift lifestyle revealed - Mar 10, 2011
- Berlusconi highest-earning politician in Italy - Mar 20, 2012
- 1,000 yachts raided in Italy to nab tax cheats - Apr 04, 2012
- Italian prime minister slams country's downgrading - Sep 20, 2011
Tags: altero matteoli, billionaire, bridge project, cabinet meeting, environmentalists, european union member states, infrastructure projects, italian government, italian prime minister, motorways, pet project, prime minister silvio, rail bridge, recession, rome march, sicily, silvio berlusconi, stint, suspension bridge, union member states