Any future Malta metro must include a permanent connection to Gozo, PN and Gozitan candidate Alex Borg has insisted.
Weighing in on the metro renders that the government recently published, Borg said that while the nation should strive for such a form of mass transport, the PN will make sure Gozo is included.
“One in every five Gozitans who work full-time must cross to Malta everyday, and it would be great to see all these workers and students use the metro instead, without having to remain apart from their families for a whole week,” Borg said.
“Let’s not forget how much traffic will be cut down, how much cleaner air we’ll have and how many more open spaces we’ll be able to create.”
“The metro should be a priority for Gozitans, including from the start of the studies. Us Gozitans aren’t third-class citizens. Gozo must be on the forefront, and under a PN government, that’s what will happen.”
Drafted by engineering firm Arup, the metro plans consist of three lines over 25 stations around Malta. The project is estimated to cost around €6.2 billion and take between fifteen to 20 years to build.
Gozo has been excluded from the plans, with the government’s metro website stating that studies have shown the island’s population must increase by around 50,000 people for it to be feasible.
However, the actual studies have not been published and architect Konrad Xuereb has repeatedly urged the government to connect Malta and Gozo via metro instead of a proposed car tunnel.
Xuereb has argued that the benefits of this strategy will be threefold – it will allow for faster trips between Malta and Gozo, offer cheaper rates than a car tunnel toll, and incentivise people to shift away from private cars.
“The government should be bold and say that once we’re looking at investing in a national mass transport system, it should reconsider its plans for a car tunnel between Malta and Gozo and use the tunnel funds on the metro instead,” he said.
The government hasn’t taken a decision on whether to go ahead with Arup’s metro plans or not, with Transport Minister Ian Borg stating he wants to await the outcome of a widespread public discussion.
Meanwhile, the PN has said it is in favour of a metro in principle but has called for further studies into whether a metro link to Gozo will be more or less feasible than a car tunnel and whether both permanent links should be set up.
It has also said these studies must be followed up by a referendum among Gozitans on whichever permanent link turns out to be more feasible.
Do you think Malta and Gozo should be connected via metro?