The Democratic Party (PD) has called for a referendum over the proposed tunnel link between Malta and Gozo, adding that the Gozitan population is feeling “neglected, frustrated, and hurt” by the government.
It is suggested that the referendum take place on 25 May 2019, given that votes will already be at the polls for the local council and MEP elections.
“Since a car tunnel to Gozo will have an everlasting impact on the social fabric of Gozo, and may cost over a billion euros, it is only logical that democracy should determine whether this huge investment is made through a referendum,” a statement read.
“Gozo is a gem, with its unique geology, pristine natural habitat and landscapes, laid back community life, culinary delights, and quaint villages. Common sense would normally dictate that this way of life be nurtured to preserve our touristic industry”
PD criticised the government for proposing a tunnel that “is being pushed by a handful of business persons” as a solution for the issues surrounding the lack of business incentives, direct connection, and the deterioration of government services in Gozo.
If the government’s priority were to extend the same benefits of the thriving economy to Gozo, it would invest the billions needed to construct the tunnel into more pressing deficiencies such as poor roads, proper business incentives, and the lack of a fibre optic cable.
The party also stressed that more ambitious mass transport connections need to be realised, while the possibility for Gozitan students to work from home on Fridays should be introduced.
A parliamentary petition against the project was filed on 20 February and has so far received just under 3,000 online signatures.