Residents of Italy's Val di Susa have come up with an inventive new strategy to block the construction of the new high-speed train line linking Lyon and Turin. More than two years after heated protests halted the construction of the controversial mountain tunnel, hundreds of TAV opponents have decided instead to symbolically buy a square metre of land each along the path of the future train track.
In the town of Chiomonte, approximately 1,250 ecologists, artists, residents and intellectuals waited for hours to sign the giant document indicating the immense purchase of sale. Protesters hope that the property act currently in effect will complicate formalities regarding the expropriation request.
‘Destroying nature to gain a few minutes between Lyon and Turin is foolish', said protest organizer Alberto Perino. Opponents of the 52-kilometre-tunnel, with its estimated 7.6 billion euro price tag, argue that the project will damage the landscape and is too costly.
‘This tunnel is useless. The historic railway line under Mount Cenis is enough to meet traffic, which is not going to grow...Like the tunnel under the English Channel, the Lyon-Turin [tunnel] will always be in deficit and never paid off. The digging could cause considerable ecological damage by draining water resources from the valley', Perino added.