On 27 April 2018 the European Commission approved the Italian investment plan for motorways of around 8.5 billion. The decision follows the agreement reached on 5 July 2017 between EU Commissioner for Competition Vestagerand the Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transports Delrio.
According to the Commission, the measures will promote growth and unlock investment, while limiting the impact on motorway users in line with EU State aid and public procurement rules, as well as minimise distortions of competition.
The new investment plan will prolong two major motorway concessions held byAutostrade per l’Italia (ASPI) and by Società Iniziative Autostradali e Servizi(SIAS). Both concessions will be prolonged for four years, until 2042 for ASPI and until 2030 for SIAS, and they both include a cap on potential toll increases that must not exceed the rate of inflation plus 0.5%.
To ensure that ASPI and SIAS will not be overcompensated and to avoid distortions of competition, the concessions are accompanied by safeguard measures that include:
- a cap on the amount that ASPI and SIAS could receive at the end of the concession from a sale of the assets;
- a mechanism to avoid overcompensation that determines the remuneration and the amount of investments ASPI and SIAS need to carry out, imposing financial penalties in case of delay or failure to realise investments;
- a series of detailed requirements to tender out the vast majority of infrastructure works downstream.
The prolongation of the concessions should provide ASPI and SIAS with sufficient revenues to finance significant investments in the Italian motorways sector. In the case of ASPI, the income generated by the prolongation of its concession should allow the completion of the so-called “Gronda di Genova”, a bypass of Genova to connect the existing motorway links of ASPI, as well as a series of further improvements on the ASPI network. As for SIAS, the prolongation of its concession should allow it to finance the investments needed to complete the Asti-Cuneo A33 motorway.