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Two projects in Italy delayed by political disputes finally have the green light.The larger is construction of the 5.6 trillion lire (£2.4 billion) Gioia Tauro power station in the toe of Italy. Work stopped in 1990 after the regional government objected to the station being totally coal-fired.Environmental opposition and claims that the Mafia helped rig construction bids also slowed the project. These were compounded by an official government inquiry by parliamentary investigators.Construction is expected to restart within eight months once engineers have redesigned the station to run on gas and/or oil. And the station's capacity has been halved from 2,600 MW to 1,320 MW.The Italian transport minister, Raffaele Costa, has also given the go-ahead to a 2.7 trillion lire (£1.1 billion) contract signed in 1991 between Treno Alta Velocita (TAV), Italy's high-speed rail company, and the Cavtomi consortium for construction of the Turin-Milan high-speed railway.The award was halted amid claims of fraud and bid-rigging.Mr Costa's decision has still to be ratified by the Council of State and Valdo Spini, Italy's environment minister, must also approve the plans.But the European Commission may yet oppose the scheme for environmental reasons.Among the firms in the Cavtomi group are Cogefar Impresit, Recchi, Grasseto and Costanzo.TAV considers construction of the Turin-Milan section as vital to the success of plans for further stages between Milan-Bologna, Bologna-Florence, Florence-Rome and Rome-Naples. Contracts for all these routes have been blighted by continuing corruption investigations in Italy.Engineering design for the whole route has been done by Italferr, the consultancy arm of Italian State Railways, in association with TPL, Foster Wheeler, Techint and CTIP.Italferr is also drawing up proposals, worth an estimated 10 trillion lire (£4.2 billion), to modernise Italy's rail network. CONSTRUCTION NEWS