The collapse of a motorway bridge in the Italian city of Genoa that killed 43 people was “absurd and avoidable,’’ Transport Minister, Danilo Toninelli, said in Rome on Monday.
Speaking in parliament, Toninelli said the Italian government wanted to check all licences for motorway operators and force them to disclose their maintenance and modernisation measures.
He described the accident as “absurd,” adding: “A tragedy like this, which could and should have been avoided, is unacceptable.”
Italy’s populist government has blamed private motorway operator Autostrade per l’Italia for the accident on Aug. 14, while the company, controlled by fashion label family Benetton, denies any negligence.
Toninelli claimed the company had received billions of euros in highway tolls, but had failed to invest it back into the roads.
The Five Star Movement, Toninelli’s party, has been pushing for the nationalisation of private roads in the wake of the disaster.
“There are other models in Europe that we think work better than ours,” he said.
“In Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the motorways are owned by the state and are partly free.”
He continued: “In Italy, on the other hand, they have been privatized … without proper competition.
“A monopoly has been transferred from public to private hands without the establishment of a proper regulatory body.”