The new Italian Transport Authority becomes operative

On the 15 January 2014 the new established Italian Transport Authority (ITA) - Autorità di Regolazione dei Trasporti - became operative. The main task of the ITA is promoting and protecting competition in the transport sectors. The president of the ITA ,Mr Andrea CAMANZI, has already announced that the ITA will start two investigations on the railways sector and on the local public transport.

The ITA is an administrative independent body headed by a council composed by a President and two other members. The council is nominated by the Parliament Commissions on the transport affairs for a non-renewable period of seven years.

The headquarters of the ITA is in Turin.

The role of the ITA

The ITA is responsible for regulating the transport sectors with the aim of promoting and protecting competition in the market.

The sectors subject to the control of the ITA are:

  • Railways
  • Ports
  • Airports
  • Toll motorways
  • Passenger and good transport

Among its main duties, the ITA shall:

  • Provide fair and no discriminatory conditions for the access to the railway, port and airport infrastructures, to toll motorways and to passenger and goods transport
  • Establish the criteria for the regulated operators to fix the fees, the rent and the tolls
  • Establish the minimum quality standards of the public transport services
  • Establish the main provisions for the public procurement concerning the exclusive rights to provide public transport services
  • Verify that the tenders for the regional railway transport are not discriminatory and do not prevent the participation of potential competitors;
  • Define together with the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, the Regions and local government agencies the scope of public service routes and the their financing methods
  • Regulate and monitor the access to the railway infrastructures ( fees, assignments of the routes, capacity)
  • Establish price schemes for the new concessions of toll motorways that shall be based on the price-cap method and updated every five years
  • Establish the main provisions for the public procurement in the motorways sector and the geographical scope of their concessions
  • Authorize the fee schemes and the amounts of the airport charges
  • Monitor and check whether the level of the cab services (quality standards and rates) meets the needs of the local urban areas

Every year the ITA shall report to the Parliament and to the Senate

The powers of the ITA

In order to carry out its duties the ITA can:

  • Impose special accounting obligation on the regulated undertakings in order to analyze their costs
  • Ask the competent public authority to suspend or revoke the concessions or the public contracts with the contractor
  • Request anyone to provide information and disclose documents needed to carry out its duties. In case of non-compliance with the requests of the ITA the ITA may impose a fine of up to 1% of the turnover
  • Conduct inspections on the premises of the regulated undertakings. The ITA may demand access to all premises, land and vehicles of the party under inspection. In case of no collaboration during an investigation the ITA may impose a fine of up to 1% of the turnover
  • Order to cease the conducts in violation of the regulation adopted by the ITA; the ITA can make binding the commitments offered by the undertakings to remove the infringements
  • Adopt interim measures where there is a risk of serious, irreparable damage to competition and/or to final consumers
  • Impose a fine of up to 10% of the turnover on the undertakings that
    • do not respect the criteria established by the ITA for fixing the fees, the rent and the tolls in the regulated sectors;
    • infringe the regulation on the access to the transport infrastructures;
    • do not comply with the ITA's orders.

Comment

The main goal of the ITA is promoting and protecting competition in the transport sectors. Therefore there could be an overlap with the Italian Competition Authority that is responsible for the application of the Italian antitrust law in every sector, included transports.

However even if these two authorities have a common goal they have different tasks. While the ITA is mainly responsible for the regulation of the transport sector aimed to remove the entry barriers to the transport infrastructures, the Italian Competition Authority shall enforce the traditional antitrust rules to prosecute cartels and abuses of dominance.