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In contrast, supporters of the project are mainly found in European, national, and provincial governments and in companies and corporations driven by private interests in infrastructure and trade development.

Not only is it part of a national railway development plan, it is also one of the priority infrastructure projects of the European Union (EU), as the Turin–Lyon segment will form the intersection of two main axes connecting northern Europe to the south, west and east of the region.

It is a key element of “Corridor n°5” on the west-east axis that will link Lisbon to Budapest initially and to Kiev eventually, completing the European railway network by developing passenger and goods transport.

Figure 1: Location of the crossing of the TAV Turin-Lyon between France and Italy The Susa Valley, between the French area of Maurienne and Turin in Italy, is a highly urbanized area.

Divided between the Lower and Upper Valleys, the Lower Valley has 66 162 inhabitants with a population density of 468 per km2 (ISTAT, 2001).

This case study explores the motives and rationale of the main actors, highlighting the role of power relations and an underlying clash of ideologies, and suggesting how tools and concepts of ecological economics might be applied to support alternative proposals from civil society.

Keywords: Transport and energy, Material Flows, Participatory democracy, Cost Benefit Analysis, Multi Criteria Evaluation, High speed, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), activist knowledgetop The early 1990s saw the development of high speed train lines (Treno Alta Velocita, or TAV) across Italy as massive sums of public money were invested in order to provide the country with a railway network that could compete at the European level.

The NIMBY Syndrome (Not In My Back Yard) is a label often applied to discredit valid local opposition to projects that could have negative externalities on the environment in a territory.

Such projects could be for example incinerators, quarries, and industrial, mobility, or energy infrastructures.

Its economy is based on tourism, as well as on more traditional activities such as dairy production and livestock grazing.

(Leonardi, 2007)The development of transport infrastructure in the beginning of the 1990s coincided with the decline of industry, particularly in the Lower Valley.

To boost the local economy, Susa Valley officials began to invest not only in industry and transport, but also in the development of the local territory, especially mountain tourism and skiing activities, as the area has a rich historical and cultural legacy of popular celebrations and a scenic protected area.