Marino wants private ATAC investors

'Only other alternative was shutting it down'

(ANSA) - Rome, July 24 - Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said Friday the city will be seeking private partners to buy a minority stake in ATAC public transport company. "Beginning today, the city, the region and ATAC commit to seeking an industrial partner while maintaining a majority public stake," the mayor said. The decision was taken jointly with Lazio Governor Nicola Zingaretti, the mayor said. "We've given ATAC a mandate to write up a strong and realistic industrial plan" in order to attract investors, he said, adding this will bring about "the end of in-house management beginning in 2019". "The only other alternative was shutting ATAC down and taking its books to court," Marino said. "It would have been the easiest solution".
    The mayor went on to say the city has decided to inject another 200 million euros into the ailing company, in the form of cash and assets.
    "We found a situation that can only be defined as bankruptcy and unsustainable debt levels," said Marino, who took office in 2013.
    "We tried to restore ATAC to health without filing for bankruptcy, but this process has not given the results needed for the quality of life of people using the public transport system".
    The mayor added the region has agreed to transfer 301 million euros to the city by September 30. "This is by way of payment of old contributions that had been denied by right-wing (regional governments) in previous years," Marino said.
    Both the mayor and the governor are from the center-left Democratic Party of Premier Matteo Renzi.