Rome's Metro C faces more delay

Rome mayor furious at delay of launch of first section

The opening of the first section of Metro C has been postponed by the Italian ministry of transport due to bureaucratic delays stemming from a "series of anomalies" and on-going problems with financing.

The first section of the troubled project, between Pantano (on Via Casilina to the east of Rome) and Centocelle, was originally scheduled to open on 11 October. Rome mayor Ignazio Marino said he was "furious" when he heard about the delay and that he "occupied" the transport ministry offices until he was given reasons behind the decision to stall the opening.

The mayor was told that certain maintenance work had been scheduled for the weekend of the opening, meaning that there wasn't sufficient time set aside to test the system in advance. There were also others reasons cited for the delay, including staffing issues.

Marino is blaming the consortium behind the project and has summoned the heads of the companies involved to an emergency meeting to try and resolve the situation. Until now Marino and his transport councillor Guido Improta have insisted that the first section of the metro would open as planned on 11 October.

The Metro C project, which was originally meant to run from Pantano to a new station near the Vatican and even beyong to Piazzale Clodio, has been beset with difficulties since it started in 1990, from massive funding overspends to lengthy delays and abandonment of planned stations across Rome's historic centre caused by the discovery of archaeological remains underground.

Italy's audit court recently accused the project's consortium of running up huge cost overruns that were neither accounted for nor agreed, as a result of delays at the Pantano-Centocelle section. The court said that over €360 million of public funds were wasted between 2006 and 2010, and that the system was "designed to reward delays."

In 2012 the court's president Luigi Giampaolino said that Metro C seemed set to become “the most expensive and slowest public works project in Europe and the world.” Since construction began 24 years ago, the cost of the project has risen from €1.9 to over €5 billion and the route remains far from completion.