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few public competitions and investments down by 23%

23/02/2021 – A prominent place in the use of the Recovery Fund belongs to the modernization of infrastructures and major works. This was stated by the president of the National Council of Engineers (CNI), Armando Zambrano, during the online conference “Great works and infrastructures for the relaunch of the country”, organized by the CNI, with the Order of Engineers of the Province of Venice, the College of the Engineers of Venice and the Federation of Orders of Engineers of the Veneto.

Infrastructure, Italy Slowest country in Europe

In his introductory speech, Zambrano stated that Italy is the slowest country in Europe in the realization of public works.

“In the last ten years there has been no progress, we have also changed the Procurement Code but we have stayed there. There is a problem of lack of investment but also the delicate issue of the Public Administration, mainly due to a lack of turnover and the chronic lack of technicians within it. Not to mention the age-old problem of competences between the State, Regions and Provinces. Everything is photographed by merciless numbers. According to the data processed by our Study Center, in the last ten years there has been a 23% drop in public investment. The expenditure on transport infrastructures in Italy is equal to 18% of total public investments, whereas in the United Kingdom it is 31% “.

“Meanwhile instead of decreasing the North-South gap increases. In all this, even when the resources are there, we are unable to spend them. We currently have 546 unfinished infrastructure works. Compared to the 2014-20 Structural Funds for transport, we have only 1% of completed projects. Of the 219 billion euros available for strategic infrastructure scheduled until 2030, only 11% is made up of completed lots and half is still in the planning phase. Then there are the lead times. It takes 5 years to make a work of one million, for a 100 million one it takes 15! All this draws a very complex picture that must be resolved as soon as possible “.

Speaking of works left on paper, a reflection was made during the conference on Bridge over the Strait of Messina. For Ennio Cascetta of the Federico II University of Naples “the question is not whether it is convenient or not convenient to do so, the question is because it hasn’t been done yet“. Cascetta stressed that nowhere in the world is there an island so large and so close to the coast not connected by a bridge and that Italian engineers carry out works of this type everywhere, proving to have skills and competences. The reflection was collected by the CNI President Armando Zambrano who, hoping for its realization, underlined how “in our country, so caught up in the daily political controversy, it is more difficult to imagine a work than to actually carry it out”.

During the conference, some interventions also illustrated cases of works that proceed quickly, such as the scheduled maintenance of the roads, which according to Massimo Simonini (Anas), can be considered a great public work, the supply of bandwidth and connectivity to schools, created by Infratel.

Infrastructure: too much bureaucracy and few technicians in the PA

One of the causes of Italy’s delays has been identified in the bureaucracy, but also in theregulatory uncertainty caused by the changes to pursue the goal of simplification. Edoardo Bianchi, vice president of Ance, stressed the inopportunity of continually changing the measures. While not ideal, he said, there is a simplification decree and it would be appropriate to get it to act, without falling into the suggestion of Genoa model. Ennio Cascetta stated that “in the Procurement Code there is a lot to change but not everything to throw away. What was missing was the quality of the infrastructure decisions to be made. In this sense, the Genoa model is little more than a slogan. All interventions in the direction of simplification are fine, except for the design, which must be of quality “.

In this regard, Fabrizio Curcio (Head of the Casa Italia Department) in illustrating the plan for the safety of the public and residential building heritage, stated that in order to overcome the vulnus of bureaucracy it is necessary to relate this to the theme of responsibility of officials and of the public-private relationship.

On the one hand, the need for simplification emerged from the conference, and on the other to protect the design quality.

According to Zambrano, the problem of lack of design it is resolved with the entry of technicians into the PA. Massimo Sessa, President of the Superior Council of Public Works, also focused on the need for technicians, who recalled how in recent years there have been almost no public competitions for engineers. On the same wavelength Fabio Dattilo (Head of the National Fire Brigade) who underlined how to speed up the realization of the works, a team is needed that is able to manage the planning, administrative and control phases and that in this context the role and skills of engineers and technicians.

Source: Edilportale.com by www.edilportale.com.

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