Autostrade, that slap to Italians of one-way concessions


It was last February 6 when, on, addressing Nicola Zingaretti as national secretary of the Democratic Party with an open letter, I indicated the two mandatory points in the revocation of the motorway concessions to the Benettons and in the reform of the prescription, as they have a strong value identity for the 5stelle MoVement, for the holding of the government alliance with between the M5S and Pd. We have been able to bring the prescription reform home, despite the resistance and the continuous attempts to ditch it by the old politics, first of all the one that responds to the “Pact of the Nazarene”. Now we must succeed, even more so, also with the revocation of the motorway concessions. And I say “a fortiori” not by chance: because a renewed idea of ​​a country where the state is at the center can start from here, and not the particularistic interests of this or that potentate or such financial cartel.
A process which, as explained in my speech on Il Fatto Quotidiano of some time ago, must concern public health, especially in light of the experience lived with the covid emergency19, and all those common goods and essential public services that must precisely return forcefully in the hands of the state.

The case of Autostrade is emblematic, not only because it is one of the fundamental infrastructures of our nation, but because it shows how a public heritage ends up yielding so much for the benefit of the few. We are talking about Atlantia, the company that controls 88% of Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi), of which over 30% is from Sintonia, the financial company of Edizione, the Benetton company which also owns Autogrill and the family stores .

According to data from Sole24Ore, Autostrade per l’Italia, with 3,489 million, contributes to approximately 55% of Atlantia’s revenue and, with 1,765 million, to more than 64% of the net operating margin. In terms of net result, of the 1,083 million of Atlantia, over 600, corresponding to more than 57%, come from Italian tolls. Or from the pockets of citizens! Incredible how the panegyric of private earnings figures almost always end up there!
It is, in short, the classic “one-way concession” of the series: on the one hand I take the advantages, that is, the toll gains, but on the other I do not take on the costs, related for example to road maintenance, bridges and viaducts. A fact among all: between 2009 and 2018, Autostrade halved investments and increased dividends, making shareholders earn 6 billion and allocating only 4 billion for maintenance. That same maintenance that, perhaps, would have avoided the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa that fateful 15 August 2018 in which 43 people lost their lives.
But as if this were not enough (because in fact for the law of profit “it is never enough”), Atlantia has asked the Government for a loan of over 1.2 billion of public resources in the context of the provisions for the emergency covid19 and coincidentally, after knowing that it would not be granted, some sources leaked that the company would freeze Autostrade per l’Italia’s investments.

The revocation of motorway concessions, long before the global pandemic – and this is what I would like to remind President Giuseppe Conte – has always been our workhorse but, at this historic moment, it can be a new ‘Breccia di Porta Pia’ that it opens the way to the Common Good and brings down that yoke – made up of concessions, ad personam laws and subsidies – which for years has held back public resources by bringing them from the pockets of citizens to the bank accounts of the various Benetton, Agnelli, Caltagirone, Berlusconi. This is the time to say enough. Now or never.

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