You may think you know everything about Italy. You may have heard about its wine, its olive oil, its art.
But do you know a little something about the trains that make up the modern Italian rail network?
NBC News’ Rick Leventhal talked to Michele Amoroso, director of logistics and transportation for ASOR Pro, to see just how much Italy’s high-speed railways have shaped the country.
The rail network was originally a project of Mussolini. “Mussolini realized that railroads were a way to make people close to the country,” Amoroso said. “He saw that trade in a country was hampered because people didn’t have access to goods and the railway could provide access to them.”
But the railroads also benefited from government subsidies, and that comes at a cost. “They [high-speed trains] are subsidized more than any other type of trains,” Amoroso said. So the high speeds and the subsidies make the Italian railways a budgetary headache.
“This subsidy has to fund the projects. If the government were to stop subsidizing them, the projects could cease.”
“[One of the disadvantages] of the high-speed trains is that the railways are not completely safe. They do have a disaster in recent memory. In 2015, the train hit a car. At the time, four people were killed and dozens injured.”
“The public also says that we shouldn’t need [high-speed trains] anymore. They like the pleasure of the trains and like the airports, but they don’t want to subsidize them anymore.”
Watch the full report from NBC News here.