National highways were born. On April 9, the Council of Ministers, meeting to ratify the decree on the economy and finances (DEF), approved the joint proposal from the Ministry of the Economy and Transport relating to the creation of a a new company fully controlled by the state and which will take charge of the 200 kilometers of toll highway currently managed by Anas. One of the main objectives of the future public company will be to intervene on the cost of the motorway tollstarting from the revision of the current system, which is based on the use of concessionary companies, to soon arrive at direct control.

A control and intervention body which will have to ensure that the enormous revenues from tolls are effectively transformed into necessary works of modernization and maintenance of the motorway fabric without having to increase costs even further by applying new increases. Good news, given that the expected expenditure in the coming years for this work amounts to around 40 billion. A difficult figure to find in a short time, given the current system.

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Concessions, how do Italian motorways work?

According to Ansfisa, the agency responsible for infrastructure and transport security, the Italian motorway network has a total extension of approximately 8 thousand km whose sole owner is the State[1]. Among these, Anas, a company controlled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, currently manages around 1900. The remaining more than 6 thousand kilometers are entrusted either to the management of the different regions (162 km), or to private companies under concession (5946 km). .

The motorway concession is an economic agreement by which the State which owns the roads entrusts, for a very long period, the management and maintenance of a certain route to a specialized private company in exchange for profits from tolls. It's the biggest difference with the procurement system, where a company receives a fixed amount in exchange for the service provided. The concession relationship is more like a partnership, in which both parties have common objectives.

However, the cost of the motorway toll cannot be decided arbitrarily. by private companies, but by the State through Cipess (better known by the old name of Cipe), the economic planning committee, responsible for ratifying the regulations of all public investments in Italy. These are implemented by the Institution and applied by the concession company.

Future Benefits

Autostrade di Stato will relieve Anas of the burden of managing the toll section which currently holds and will remain in charge of the rest of the free section and the national roads. For now, the new company will manage the 200 km that, via Anas, are entrusted to the invested companies and include crucial intersections such as the Mont Blanc and Fréjus tunnels, the Passante di Mestre and the Asti-Cuneo highway.

A return to the hands of the State which will have considerable benefits, according to the Ministries of Economy and Transport, above all on security: state economic control, based on transparency, would reduce the risk of illegal activities and eliminate the logic of profit, typical of private companies, and thus allow to avoid the phenomena of mismanagement that the news still too often highlights. State control would encourage investment in maintenance and modernization work, therefore better functioning not of each section but of the entire managed network. And that without having to burden citizens' pockets with increased toll costs. Indeed, by removing the profit allocated to dealers, it will be possible to standardize prices which currently experience many variations.


[1] Management of the Italian motorway network

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