Financial TimesFinancial Times

Will Italy squander its €200bn opportunity?

By Amy Kazmin

30 Aug 2023 · 10 min read

Tommaso Gambino has been selling traditional Sicilian snacks at Mondello beach, on the outskirts of Palermo, since the 1960s. For nearly as long, the 67-year-old owner of the popular kiosk has been hearing of plans for an imminent tramline to bring visitors from the city centre to the beach. “Mondello is a small place and we can’t handle the pressure of all the cars,” he says. 

Gambino hoped the long-touted Palermo-Mondello tramline might finally be realised through Italy’s €191.5bn, EU-funded post-pandemic economic recovery plan, the country’s biggest aid programme since its second world war reconstruction. Among the plan’s many bold targets: construction of at least 206km of new green public transport infrastructure in 16 cities, Palermo included. 

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