France and Italy launch a rail project across the Alps

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi have signed an agreement for a long-standing rail project to ease transport of freight across the Alps.

The agreement was signed Tuesday at a summit in Paris. The project, which would connect the cities of Lyon in France and Turin in Italy, includes the construction of a 57-kilometer (35.4-mile) tunnel for an estimated cost over 8 billion euros ($7 billion). The line would not open before 2028.

The European Union authorities promised to finance 40 percent of the project.

Ultimately the line could also be adapted for a high-speed passenger trains.