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Italy’s national government provides all funding for national highways, while regions enjoy limited power to fund regional roads.  Tax revenue on automobile and gas usage is not applied to dedicated funding for road infrastructure construction.  No programs for taxing road usage by vehicle miles traveled exist in the country.  Automobile taxes are determined according to several criteria, such as an automobile’s environmental impact, engine power, or historical interest.  Other factors related to road usage, such as the type of road or road congestion, are not considered in determining automobile taxes.  A percentage of revenue generated by tolls goes to the National Autonomous Roads Corporation (Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade, ANAS) for monitoring highways under concession.

I. Introduction

According to the Italian Constitution,[1] Italy’s national government exercises enumerated powers,[2] but also shares some powers with Italy’s twenty regions.  These shared powers include passing legislation related to “major transportation and navigation networks.”[3]  Accordingly, in 2009 Italy introduced the concept of “federal infrastructure” (Federalismo infrastrutturale)[4] with the passage of a decree law giving the national government authority to maintain the national highways and limiting the regional branches of the National Autonomous Roads Corporation (Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade, ANAS) to the maintenance of roads within their regions.[5]  After its federalization, the toll system for federal highways and motorways previously managed by ANAS was changed in 2010[6] from a concessionaire-operated toll system to a free-flow collection system.[7]

Appropriations for road infrastructure are stipulated in the annual budget of the national government.[8]  The budget law for 2014 includes several provisions related to providing funding for road infrastructure.[9]  For example, the Law appropriates €335 million (about US$453.8 million) for 2014 and €150 million (about US$203.2 million) for 2015 to ensure the maintenance of the road network throughout the country, initiation of new projects, and completion of initiatives under program contracts already signed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation and existing contractors.[10]  The same Law also approves funding for the promotion of connections between the sea, rail, and road transportation systems in the area of the Strait of Messina, that is, at the regional level.[11]

Since 2001,[12] the implementation of road infrastructure projects has taken place through the Strategic Infrastructure Program in conjunction with construction projects for the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) and the Pan-European corridors.[13]  Since 2003, the government has sent Parliament an annual report titled Infrastructure Annex,[14] in which it informs Parliament about the implementation of strategic infrastructure throughout the country.

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II. National Road-Infrastructure Funding

A.  Income from Taxes and Tolls

Revenue generated by taxes on road and automobile usage goes to the general Italian treasury.  Road usage as expressed through fuel consumption is taxed with an excise tax and a value-added tax (VAT).  The excise is a type of consumption tax distinct from the VAT in that it is not proportional to the value but to the quantity of the product.[15]  The fuel-consumption VAT, on the other hand, is a general consumption tax that is not tied to road construction or maintenance.

Automobile taxes, in turn, are levied on vehicle owners and are paid independently of car or highway usage.  The amount of the tax varies according to the vehicle’s engine power.  Another factor involved in determining the automobile tax is the class of pollution generated by the vehicle (Euro 1, Euro 2, etc.): the lower the class number, the higher the amount paid because the vehicle pollutes more.  Several other criteria also affect the determination of automobile taxes.[16]

With respect to highway-usage tolls under the concession regimen, highway concessionaires have been required to pay an annual fee to the state since 1994.[17]  The rate of this fee, which has been modified several times,[18] is currently 2.4% of the net proceeds of the tolls that are due to the concessionaires.  Forty-two percent of the fee is paid directly to ANAS, which directs those funds toward supervising and controlling concessionaires in accordance with the relevant costs[19] for maintaining the ANAS network.[20]  This is the only exception to the general rule that funds for building roads in Italy are not treated separately from funds for operating and maintaining roads.

B.  Other Financing Mechanisms

Other mechanisms for financing public infrastructure projects include “project financing,”[21] the issuance of titles of credit (bond projects),[22] the issuance of bonds by insurance companies,[23] and defiscalizzazione (tax exemptions) for certain activities and public-private partnerships (PPPs).[24] 

To facilitate the implementation of new infrastructure projects performed through PPP contracts worth a minimum of €500 million (about US$677.4 million), tax credits are granted to holders of PPP contracts via the corporate income tax and the regional tax for activities related to the construction and management of such works.[25] 

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III. New Initiatives on Road Infrastructure

There are no pending developments in this area.  In particular, there are no plans to institute dedicated funds for road construction aside from the general revenue of the state nor are there any plans for taxing road usage by taxing vehicle miles traveled.

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IV. Conclusion

It appears that there are no specific funds directed toward financing national highway infrastructure in Italy, which is funded by the general revenue.  Highway revenue is generated by taxes and tolls, but this revenue is not tied to highway construction.  Likewise, revenues from gas and automobile taxes go to the general revenue of the country, and not to specific highway projects or to the regions.

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Dante Figueroa
Senior Legal Analyst
March 2014

 


[1] Constitution of the Italian Republic (English version published by the Parliamentary Information, Archives and Publications Office of the Senate Service for Official Reports and Communication of the Senato della Repubblica, Apr. 2009), http://www.senato.it/documenti/repository/istituzione/costituzione _inglese.pdf.

[2] Id. art. 117, paras. 1& 2.

[3] Id. art. 117, para. 3.

[4] Decreto Legge [D.L.] 25 settembre 2009, n. 135, Disposizioni urgenti per l’attuazione di obblighi comunitari e per l’esecuzione di sentenze della Corte di giustizia delle Comunita’ europee [Decree Law No. 135 of September 25, 2009, Urgent Provisions for the Implementation of Community Obligations and for the Execution of the European Court of Justice’s Decisions], Gazetta Ufficiale [G.U.] [Official Gazette] No. 223, Oct. 25, 2009, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2009;135~art19quater.

[5] D.L. n. 135 of 2009 art. 3-ter.

[6] Decreto Legge 31 maggio 2010, n. 78, Misure urgenti in materia di stabilizzazione finanziaria e di competitivita’ economica [Decree Law No. 78 of May 31, 2010, Urgent Measures Concerning Financial and Economic Competitiveness Stability], art. 8, paras. 1–5, G.U. No. 125, May 31, 2010, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2010-05-31;78!vig=.

[7] This system became operational on April 30, 2011.  See Decreto Legge 5 agosto 2010, n. 125, Misure urgenti per il settore dei trasporti e disposizioni in materia finanziaria [Decree Law No. 125 of August 5, 2010, Urgent Measures for the Transportation Sector and Concerning Financial Matters], G.U. No. 182, Aug. 6, 2010, http://www.norm attiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2010-08-05;125!vig.

[8] Redazione ed Approvazione del Bilancio Dello Stato Italiano [Preparation and Approval of the Italian State Budget], LIBERO, http://digilander.libero.it/lancenia/Il_bilancio_dello_Stato_italiano.htm (last visited Feb. 6, 2014).

[9] Legge 27 dicembre 2013, n. 147, Disposizioni per la formazione del bilancio annuale e pluriennale dello Stato (Legge di stabilita’ 2014) [Law 147 of December 27, 2013, Provisions for the Preparation of the Annual and Pluriannual Budget of the State (Stability Law of 2014)], G.U. No. 302, Dec. 27, 2013, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2013;147.

[10] Id. art. 1, No. 68. 

[11] Id. art. 1, No. 81; see also Decreto Legge 6 luglio 2011, n. 98, Disposizioni urgenti per la stabilizzazione finanziaria [Decree Law 98 of July 6, 2011, Urgent Provisions for Financial Stability] art. 32, para. 1, G.U. No. 155, July 6, 2011, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2011-07-06;98 (creating, under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation, the railroad and highway infrastructure related to the Strategic Interest Works Fund, appropriating €930 million [about US$1,271,000] for fiscal year (FY) 2012 and €1,000 million [about US$1,367,000] for FYs 2013 to 2016).

[12] Legge 21 dicembre 2001, n. 443, Delega al Governo in materia di infrastrutture ed insediamenti produttivi strategici ed altri interventi per il rilancio delle attivita’ produttive [Law 443 of December 21, 2001, Delegating in the Government the Concerning Infrastructure and Strategic Production and Other Investments for the Revival of Productive Activity], G.U. No. 299, Dec. 27, 2001, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato: legge:2001;443.

[13] Temi dell’attività Parlamentare: Le infrastrutture strategiche [Topics of Parliamentary Activity: Strategic Infrastructure], Parlamento Italiano, http://leg16.camera.it/465?area=32&tema=71&Le+infrastrutture+ strategiche (last visited Feb. 6, 2014).

[14] The documents composing the Infrastructure Annex are called “documents of economics and finance,” pursuant to Legge 7 aprile 2011, n. 39 Modifiche alla legge 31 dicembre 2009, n. 196, conseguenti alle nuove regole adottate dall’Unione europea in materia di coordinamento delle politiche economiche degli Stati membri [Law 39 of April 7, 2011, Amending Law 196 of December 31, 2009, Arising from the New Rules Adopted by the European Union Concerning the Coordination of the Economic Policies of the Member States], G.U. No. 84, Apr. 12, 2011, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2011;39.

[15] Id.  In addition to fuels, the excise is applied to gas, electricity, alcohol, and tobacco.

[16] Vehicles with a low environmental impact—such as hybrid electric vehicles fueled exclusively by GLP (natural gas) or methane sources— may take advantage of a large tax reduction.  Also, vehicles of historical interest that are enrolled in special registries are subject to the payment of a reduced rate (“Minitax”), payable only in the case of effective use, and disabled persons have a right to a complete exemption from the tax if their vehicle is adapted to the particular type of disability.  In addition, the so-called “Supertax,” applicable since 2012, is an additional increment of the automobile tax on passenger cars and motor vehicles used for the transportation of persons and goods, which applies to two large categories: (a) vehicles with power above 225 Kw acquired between July 7 and December 31, 2011; and (b) vehicles with more than 185 Kw registered after 2008, which had to comply with the new rules before January 31, 2012.  Legge 14 giugno 1990, n. 158, Norme di delega in materia di autonomia impositiva delle regioni e altre disposizioni concernenti i rapporti finanziari tra lo Stato e le regioni [Law 158 of June 14, 1990, Norm for the Delegation of Powers Concerning the Tax Autonomy of the Regions and Other Provisions Related to the Financial Relationship Between the State and the Regions] art. 4, G.U. No. 144, June 22, 1990, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1990-06-14;158.  Finally, effective in 2011, passenger cars and motor vehicles used for the transportation of persons and goods with power higher than 225 Kw are subject to an additional increment over the tax introduced by D.L. 98, supra note 11, which was converted into law by Legge 15 luglio 2011, n. 111. [Law No. 111 of July 15, 2011] art. 23, para. 21, G.U. No. 164 of July 16, 2011, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2011-07-15;111!vig=.].

[17] Legge 24 dicembre 1993, n. 537, Interventi correttivi di finanza pubblica [Law No. 537 of December 24, 1993, Corrective Actions of Public Finance] art. 10, para. 3, G.U. No. 393, Dec. 28, 1993, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:1993-12-24;537.

[18] Legge 27 dicembre 2006, n. 296, Disposizioni per la formazione del bilancio annuale e pluriennale dello Stato (legge finanziaria 2007) [Law 296 of December 27, 2006, Provisions for the Formation of the Annual and Pluriannual Budget of the State (Financial Law of 2007)] art. 1, para. 1020, G.U. No. 299, Dec. 27, 2006, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2006-12-27;296!vig=; Decreto Legge 23 ottobre 2008, n. 162, Interventi urgenti in materia di adeguamento dei prezzi di materiali da costruzione, di sostegno ai settori dell’autotrasporto, dell’agricoltura e della pesca professionale, nonche’ di finanziamento delle opere per il G8 e definizione degli adempimenti tributari per le regioni Marche ed Umbria, colpite dagli eventi sismici del 1997 [Decree Law No. 162 of October 23, 2008, Urgent Action Concerning the Adjustment of Prices of Building Materials, Support of the Road Sectors, Agriculture and Professional Fishing, as well as Financing of the Works for the G8, and Definition of Tax Compliance for the Regions of Umbria and Marche, Affected by the Earthquake of 1997] art. 19, para. 9-bis, G.U. No. 249, Oct. 23, 2008, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto-%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20legge:2008;162; D.L. 78 of 2009, supra note 6, art. 5(7).

[19] See Decreto Legge 8 aprile 2008, n. 59 Disposizioni urgenti per l’attuazione di obblighi comunitari e l’esecuzione di sentenze della Corte di giustizia delle Comunita’ europee [Decree Law No. 59 of April 8, 2008, Urgent Provisions for the Implementation of Community Obligations and for the Execution of the European Court of Justice’s Decisions] art. 8-duodecies, G.U. No. 84, Apr. 9, 2008, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato: decreto.legge:2008;59 (introducing a new tariff adjustment mechanism between tolls to both the effective inflation rate of the preceding year and the return on investments).

[20] For more information on Highway Concessions by ANAS, see Camera dei deputati, XVI Legislatura, Documentazione e ricerche, L’Anas e le concessioni autostradali [ANAS and Highway Concessions], n. 249, July 6, 2011, http://documenti.camera.it/leg16/dossier/Testi/Am0234.htm#dossierList.

[21] Decreto Legge 6 dicembre 2011, n. 201, Disposizioni urgenti per la crescita, l’equita’ e il consolidamento dei conti pubblici [Decree Law No. 201 of December 6, 2011, Urgent Provisions for the Growth, Equity, and Consolidation of Public Accounts] art. 42, paras. 6 & 7, G.U. No. 284, Dec. 6, 2011, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2011;201.

[22] Decreto Legge 24 gennaio 2012, n. 1, Disposizioni urgenti per la concorrenza, lo sviluppo delle infrastrutture e la competitivita’ [Decree Law No. 1 of January 24, 2012, Urgent Provisions for Competition, Development of Infrastructure and Competitiveness] art. 41, G.U. No. 19, Jan. 24, 2012, http://www.normattiva.it/atto/ caricaDettaglioAtto?atto.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2012-01-24&atto.codiceRedazionale=012G0009, amended by Decreto Legge 22 giugno 2012, n. 83, Misure urgenti per la crescita del Paese [Decree Law No. 83 of June 22, 2012, Urgent Measures for the Growth of the Country] art. 1, G.U. No. 187, Aug. 11, 2012, http://www.normattiva. it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2012-06-22;83.

[23] D.L. 201 of 2011, supra note 22, art. 41, para. 5-bis (regulating the adjudicating authority, the submission of proposals, and the procedure for the financing of infrastructure projects).

[24] Legge 12 novembre 2011, n. 183, Disposizioni per la formazione del bilancio annuale e pluriennale dello Stato (Legge di stabilita’ 2012) [Law 183 of November 12, 2011, Provisions for the Formation of the Annual and Pluriannual Budget of the State (Stability Law of 2012)] art. 18, G.U. No. 265, Nov. 14, 2011, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:2011-11-12;183.

[25] Decreto Legge 18 ottobre 2012, n. 179 Ulteriori misure urgenti per la crescita del Paese [Decree Law No. 179 of October 18, 2012, Further Urgent Measures for the Country’s Growth] art. 33 et seq., G.U. No. 245, Oct. 19, 2012, http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto-legge:2012-10-18;179!vig.

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Last Updated: 11/03/2014