The peculiar Italian motorway situation is reflected in the intermittent traffic conditions that many motorists experience on a daily basis. With several operators under concession, on paper, one could hope for an overall improvement of the network, also thanks to competition; however, the lack of direction leads to paradoxical situations such as that of Autostrade per l’Italia’s cashback.
Cashback, as mentioned, works like this: if you end up in a queue for construction sites and works, then you are entitled to a refund of the toll. “But which routes does it apply to? Not at all. The problem is not so much that there are 22 dealerships, but that each relates to users as it wishes, starting with the transparency of traffic information. The cashback affair confirms this: Autostrade per l’Italia (Aspi) launches it, which manages half of the network, but not even its subsidiaries have queued. So there were animated discussions within Aiscat, the association of managers that is losing the pieces due to the disagreements with the dominant line of the Benetton company. After the Gavio group, released in December 2018 in controversy with Giovanni Castellucci – then head of Atlantia and Aspi – on 7 September Carlo Toto also left, with his Strada dei Parchi (Rome-Abruzzo). Among the main reasons for the tear, the dissent for the initiative proposed by the CEO of Aspi, Roberto Tomasi, without agreeing it with the other toll gentlemen“, Reports Il Sole 24 Ore.
The situation is the following: if the other dealerships under management do not apply the cashback, motorists in the queue could appeal to the judge for unequal treatment. By winning, presumably. The Aspi system is then very complicated because it only intervenes on the section of its competence and only on certain situations. Nobody talks about establishing the so-called annual ‘label’, nor does anyone try to simplify the network of dealerships, establishing the conditions for giving the whole peninsula a reliable standard.
Some of Aiscat’s members consider cashback difficult to enforce and potentially harmful to balance sheets. Still others see the idea as an “opportunistic move” to please the government and CDP, the new owner of Aspi. The Minister of Infrastructure, Enrico Giovannini said in a hearing in the Senate that the cashback should be generalized, including it in the 15 concessions to be renewed. The highway system never ceases to amaze. In negative.
FP | *
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