The Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport performs many important functions in the railway sector, with the key target of making railway network more efficient and functional. It is important to point out that from an operational point of view, the Ministry does not directly carry out the construction and maintenance of railway infrastructures, but entrusts these duties to “Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane” Group – Rete Ferroviaria Italiana Spa (the Italian Railway Network Company).
Through a Program Contract the Ministry indicates the activities to be carried out, performing supervisory tasks on the use of public investments for projects concerning implementation and maintenance of the railway network. In this respect, the high-speed/high-capacity rail lines are especially important as well as the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
Other activities carried out by the Ministry in railway sector are:
- defining the standards that will make European railways more integrated and interoperable (in particular, the technical specifications of interoperability - STI)
- fostering regulatory compliance for persons with reduced mobility (PMR) also at railway stations
- taking care of the international, EU and institutional affairs of the sector, such as framework European Law, the transposition of European Directives and the participation in working groups in EU Bodies (the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Railway Agency).
Some specific actions on safety issues have been delegated to the Italian National Railway Safety Agency, and the Ministry performs its functions of strategic guidance and national supervisory authority.