90% of passenger traffic in Italy takes place on the road and at high speed it did not catch on in the South, stopping in Salerno.
The skills gap between age groups and 15-year-old Italian students below the OECD average in reading, maths and science, with more negative numbers in the South are really worrying problems. These are the two most significant lines of the chapters that the PNRR dedicates to Infrastructure and Education.
The total cost for the Italian high-speed train built in Italy amounts to 41.9 billion euros, among the highest in the world, and 25.40 billion for the entire infrastructure sector do not appear sufficient to transform a system that, in addition to Alta Velocita also has many other structural interventions.
Therefore, the sore point of the Plan is precisely on Infrastructures. The limited amount of resources, 25.40 billion euros, does not bode well. The double would still be little for the necessary infrastructural interventions. Also because the EU, by 2026, is thinking about a “more modern, digital and sustainable infrastructure system, capable of responding to the challenge of decarbonization indicated by the European Union with the strategies connected to the European Green Deal”. In addition, the European Commission “stressed that the socio-economic crisis resulting from the pandemic” carries the risk of accentuating regional and territorial disparities within the country, exacerbating the divergent trends between the less developed and more developed regions, between the social peripheries and the rest of urban areas, as well as between some urban and rural areas ”, requiring policies aimed at avoiding this risk.
But a structural gap is evident above all in the southern area.
The PNRR aims to “Extending the High Speed to the South, with the conclusion of the Naples-Bari route, the further advancement of the Palermo-Catania-Messina line and the construction of the first functional lots of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria and Taranto-Potenza-Battipaglia lines ”. Then there is talk of “they will enhance the Milan-Venice, Verona-Brenner and Liguria-Alps railway lines, improving the connections across the Alps with the ports of Genoa and Trieste; in the center of the country two East-West axes will be strengthened (Rome-Pescara and Orte-Falconara), significantly reducing travel times and increasing capacity; the Adriatic line from North to South will also be strengthened and speeded up ”.
Some adjustments are also planned regional lines (including Canavesana, Turin-Ceres, Bari-Bitritto, Rosarno-San Ferdinando, Sansepolcro-Terni, Benevento-Cancello, the network managed by Ferrovie del Sud-Est, Ferrovie Appulo Lucane) to the technical standards of the national network, both from the point from an infrastructural and technological security point of view. Further interventions (including Circumvesuviana and Cumana, Circumetnea, Cosenza-Catanzaro, Andria-Barletta doubling) are financed with national resources.
One of the key objectives is the Napoli-Bari: “it will be playable in 2 hours, compared to the current 3 hours and 30 minutes; there will be an increase in capacity from 4 to 10 trains / hour on the double track sections ”.
But we also have the Palermo-Catania-Messina: “The intermediate sections of the project will be completed, upon completion of which there will be a reduction in travel time of over 60 minutes on the Palermo-Catania section compared to the current 3 hours, and an increase in capacity from 4 to 10 trains / hour on the doubled sections “. On the Salerno-Reggio Calabria the Plan provides for “the completion of the entire project”. “Travel time will be reduced by 80 minutes”. We’ll see.
Then the interventions on the Brescia-Verona-Vicenza: the interventions refer to the Brescia-Verona section and the Verona-Bivio Vicenza section and improved accessibility of the new Vicenza Fiera station, the crossing of which will be financed with national resources.
For the Liguria-Alps we talk about the completion of the entire project. Journey times are expected to be almost halved both on the Genoa-Milan section and on the Genoa-Turin section. In addition, capacity will be increased from 10 to 24 trains / hour on the routes subject to quadrupling near the Milan junction (Rho-Parabiago and Pavia-Milan-Rogoredo).
For the Verona-Brenner: the Trento railway ring road will be built, which is part of the project to upgrade and develop the Verona-Brenner route, upon completion of which there will be a significant increase in the line’s capacity up to 400 trains / day.
On the Rome-Pescara the first sections of the project will be built, upon completion of which there will be a time saving of 80 minutes on the Rome-Pescara line and an increase in capacity from 4 to 10 trains / hour on the doubled sections (with the possibility of establishing metropolitan services between Chieti and Pescara).
There is talk of a strengthening of the Orte-Falconara: several sections of the project will be built, upon completion of which there will be a reduction in travel times of at least 15 minutes on the Rome-Ancona section and of at least 10 minutes on the Rome-Perugia section, an increase in capacity from 4 to 10 trains / now on the routes subject to doubling of the tracks and an adjustment of the performances to allow the transit of freight trains.
For the Taranto-Metaponto-Potenza-Battipaglia some intermediate sections of the project will be built, upon completion of which travel times will be reduced by 30 minutes on the Naples-Taranto section (via Battipaglia) compared to the current time required of 4 hours, the capacity will be increased from 4 to 10 trains per ‘now on the sections being updated and the railway line will be adapted to allow the passage of freight trains.
Last-mile rail interventions are also planned for the connection of the ports of Taranto and Augusta and the airports of Salerno, Olbia, Alghero, Trapani and Brindisi, to increase the competitiveness and connectivity of the intermodal logistic system and to improve the railway accessibility of different urban areas of the South.
The PNRR dedicates 30.88 billion euros to the other major chapter, Education and Research.
46.1% of Italian families ask to be able to benefit from full-time service in primary schools, but there is also the gap of students under the age of 15, which we said beyond school dropout. The Plan provides for extensive investments where the Miur goes to maximize the existing one, trying to enhance multidisciplinarity and continuous training in all levels of education, passing from the current school to the “School 4.0”.
About 100,000 traditional classrooms are expected to be transformed into connected learning environments, with the introduction of connected educational devices: creation of laboratories for digital professions in the second cycle; digitization of school administrations; internal wiring of approximately 40,000 school buildings and related devices.
We are also talking about concrete to increase the amount of scholarships to 4,000 euros per student which are currently around 700 euros. As well as triple the places for non-resident students, bringing them from 40,000 to over 100,000 by 2026.
Another immediately tangible intervention is on gyms. An intervention on about 400 gyms or sports facilities is planned.
For research and higher levels, 500 PhD students in dedicated programs are planned over a 3-year period to digital and environmental transitions; the creation of 3 Teaching and Learning Centers (TLC) to improve the teaching skills (including digital skills) of teachers in universities and teachers in schools, in all disciplines, including those traditionally less digital-oriented; the creation of 3 Digital Education Hubs (DEH) to improve the higher education system’s ability to offer digital education to university students and workers; the strengthening of higher education institutions, through: i) the offer of courses and training activities to doctoral students enrolled in other institutions, to share their experiences and skills with the whole higher education system.
Among the particular initiatives the realization of 10 transnational educational initiatives – TNE – in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the internationalization activity of the institutes of artistic and musical higher education (AFAM) through the support to 5 internationalization projects of the AFAM institutions, to promote their role abroad in the conservation and promotion of Italian culture.
But there is also among the objectives that of taking action to increase doctorates by 3,600, activating three cycles starting from 2021, each with 1,200 scholarships. The
The Fund for the National Research Program (PNR) and Research Projects of Significant National Interest (PRIN) will finance, until 2026, 5,350 research projects. The average investment in each program will be approximately € 100 million, with a contribution for each project part of the program of between € 5 and € 20 million and a contribution for the recruitment of fixed-term researchers of between 15 and 25 million euros for each program, with an average number of 100 researchers per program. Among the significant targets is the percentage of female researchers on a fixed-term contract, which, as a result of the implementation of this measure, will have to rise from the current 34% to 40%.
… end of the third part