Things to come

Policymakers debate the future of Florence

Editorial Staff
July 10, 2008

With municipal elections fast approaching in 2009, local politicians are working on a ‘to-do' list for Florence. Last week, during the annual assembly of the Florence Confindustria at Firenze Fiera, local business weighed in on key issues.

From urban planning to waste disposal and public transportation, the public policy questions at front and centre focus on efforts to increase economic and social development and improve existing infrastructure in the city, province and region.

 

Metropolitan Florence. Under consideration is a plan to incorporate Florence and 11 surrounding municipalities under one authority in order to provide the most cost-effective and efficient services. The idea of ‘Metropolitan Florence' has the support of politicians and business owners.

 

High-speed trains. Ongoing controversy has slowed the construction of the high-speed train line between Florence and Bologna. With the Milan-Bologna line scheduled to be running by 2009, business owners are urging politicians to complete the Treno ad Alta Velocità as soon as possible. They note that if the high-speed rail system is not completed before the Milan Expo in 2015, Florence will be ‘bypassed'.

 

Peretola. After four years of debate, local politicians have finally come to an agreement on enlarging Florence's airport: constructing another runway despite the displeasure of the airport's neighbours. The additional lane will to allow more flights and better service in and out of Florence. Building it next to the existing runways would minimize environmental damage. Although business owners believe air service through Peretola airport needs to be increased, they also urge more efficient travel to and from Pisa airport, with improvements to bus and train service and auto routes.

 

Tramvia.  Members of the Confindustria believe that Florence needs a more efficient urban transport line than the Tramvia. They urge local politicians to instead consider constructing a subway line to connect greater Florence to the historic centre.

 

Incinerator. According to provincial president Matteo Renzi, the project to build a regional incinerator is mired in red tape. Although Renzi suggested that it could be four years before the first brick is laid, the business sector stresses the need to speed up the construction. They urge both provincial and regional officials to get involved.

 

Oversight. Local businesses are arguing for the creation of a special committee to preside over public works and infrastructure in Florence. With the approval from local politicians, the Confindustria will begin forming a bipartisan group of Florentine officials, starting in July, 2008.

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