‘Res­cuer’ quits on Rome’s debt-hit trans­port sys­tem

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT / INTERNATIONAL - Crispian Balmer

ROME’S trans­port sys­tem is suf­fo­cat­ing un­der debts and should de­clare bank­ruptcy, the out­go­ing head of the pub­lic com­pany said at the week­end, pil­ing pres­sure on the 5-Star Move­ment which runs city hall.

Bruno Rota quit Atac on Fri­day, three months af­ter tak­ing charge of the Ital­ian cap­i­tal’s bus, metro and tram net­work, say­ing he was un­able to sal­vage the firm and feared le­gal ac­tion tied to any even­tual col­lapse.

“It is an ap­palling scan­dal,” said Rota, called to Rome af­ter help­ing turn around the trans­port sys­tem in the north­ern city of Mi­lan. “The sit­u­a­tion is worse than you can imag­ine,” he told La Repub­blica news­pa­per.

Rota’s dra­matic de­par­ture has trig­gered yet an­other cri­sis for the city’s 5-Star ad­min­is­tra­tion, which won power last year in what was seen as a lit­mus test of whether the anti-es­tab­lish­ment group was ready to run Italy.

Since tak­ing of­fice, the 5-Star has been in con­stant tu­mult, with more than a dozen se­nior city of­fi­cials ei­ther be­ing sacked or quit­ting in just 12 months, while Rome’s in­fra­struc­ture con­tin­ues its in­ex­orable de­cay.

On Fri­day, the city, which is suf­fer­ing a pro­longed drought, nar­rowly man­aged to avoid wa­ter ra­tioning, but the Atac strife and in­ter­nal 5-Star bat­tles meant mayor Vir­ginia Raggi had no time to cel­e­brate. – Reuters

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