The federal government’s decision in 1990 to construct the NRLA was based on four key arguments. These are still relevant today:
- With the NRLA, Switzerland addresses the growth in European traffic and the demands of European integration. The NRLA is at the heart of the European Rhine-Alpine rail freight corridor, which runs from Rotterdam and Antwerp to Genoa.
- Switzerland maintains its central position on transport policy; the NRLA brings political and economic benefits, as well as shortened journey times. It not only caters for one optimum link with its main trading partners, but also brings the different parts of Switzerland closer together, in the way the Spatial Strategy for Switzerland intended.
- The Gotthard, Lötschberg and Ceneri summit tunnels have been operating for over a century. By building the base tunnels, Switzerland ensures that it has state of the art, high-performance rail infrastructure at its command. Together with roads, the imminent streams of traffic can be tackled head on.
- The NRLA makes an essential contribution to transferring transalpine freight traffic from road to rail, as approved by the Swiss electorate in 1994. High-performance base tunnels allow for a large number of freight trains, and one single locomotive can pull a long freight train through the Alps, thus strengthening the competitiveness of rail.