Italian Senate backs Lyon-Turin high-speed rail link, widening coalition rift

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The Italian Senate on Wednesday rejected a motion by one of the ruling coalition parties, the 5-Star Movement, to block an alpine rail link with France, paving the way for the long-contested project to continue. The train project is one of several issues that has caused tension between M5S and its far-right government coalition partners in the Lega Nord. The M5S has long been against the project on cost and environmental grounds but League leader and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini is strongly in favour. Premier Giuseppe Conte recently said it should be completed, arguing it would cost more to abandon the project. Salvini has warned that “those who say No to the [project] put the government at risk”. The decision to resume the infrastructure project sparked protests last month, with thousands taking to the streets. READ MORE: Thousands resume protests against Turin-Lyon high-speed railway link According to a recent poll, 70% of Italians support the construction of the new rail link. If and when it is completed, the journey time between Milan and Paris will be cut from nearly seven hours to just four hours.