In various votes held at the end of the twentieth century, the Swiss people declared themselves to be in favour of transferring transalpine goods traffic from road to rail. This decision was perceived to be more ecological, efficient and less invasive. This led to the development of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA or AlpTransit), which involved a total investment of around 23 billion Swiss francs.
Federal Council, explanations regarding the popular vote of 1992
The first base tunnel to be completed as part of the AlpTransit project was the Lötschberg tunnel. It is 34.6 km long and came into operation on 9 December 2007.