Can Cost Benefit-Analysis help transport policy decisions? The debate on the Turin-Lyon base tunnel

CBA has been used several times in the debate on the Lyon Turin railway project with varying outcomes. This process culminated in the heavy debate that took place in Italy in early 2019. This discussion invoked many statements on what a CBA should or should not be and the outcome of the analysis were heavily discussed. Generally, the analysis provided a negative result, with a net present value for Europe around minus 8 billion euros. Some paradoxical effects also appeared. Most strikingly the more the tunnel link would be used, the less it would be beneficial for society. And, even if the tunnel was built for free, it would have a negative Net Present Value. This generated skepticism among some experts and in the public discussion. It can thus be interesting and relevant for the community of economists to analysis how CBA contributed to the approval of the project since the first applications in the early 1990's. The proposed paper reviews the different CBa performed and their influence on the decision process. It also examines more in detail the 2019 Italian debate. It examines the various topics that were discussed: 1 – consideration of the taxation 2 – use of the rule of half 3 – alleged inconsistency with the Italian or International guidelines 4 - lack of consideration for wider economic effects. 5 - absence of a proper demand model. The authors expose the different views that economic theory provides on these contentious points. Additional to this, the authors also examine the perception of the CBA in the wider public and policy makers, and the authors draw some conclusions on how proper presentation of CBA results may help the economists to provide results that are well understood by the policy makers and the general public.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract used by permission of Association for European Transport. Alternative title: The Cost Benefit-Analysis Public Debate on Turin-Lyon High Speed Rail Project: 1991-2019
  • Corporate Authors:

    Association for European Transport (AET)

    1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street, West Kensington
    London W14 0RL,    
  • Authors:
    • Massiani, Jerome
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2020


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Bibliography; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 43p
  • Monograph Title: European Transport Conference 2020

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01766001
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 5 2021 11:13AM