Government should reconsider tunnel project, Malta Chamber says

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Chamber is suggesting the government to reconsider the investment in the tunnel between Malta and Gozo and instead direct the investment towards the building of a multi-odal transportation backbone with metro connectivity to Gozo.

During the launch of the Malta Chamber’s economic vision for the next five years, which includes 59 recommendations revolving mainly around the core economic sectors, the Malta Chamber focused also on the public transport system in Malta which the Chamber stated it needs to evolve and put people first and not cars.

In a document, presented on Wednesday, the Chamber said that the introduction of a fourth ferry between Malta and Gozo has decisively shown, as evidenced by Gozitan civil society and citizen feedback, that most of the connectivity issues are now resolved.

“A fourth ferry that operates on a 24/7 basis – or even a fifth ferry that connects Mġarr to Valletta – would provide improved service connectivity for Gozitans working in the Valletta–Cottonera–Sliema area also by means of the inter-modality links with the Valletta–Cottonera and Valletta–Sliema ferries.”

The Chamber is recommending that a fast ferry connection between Mġarr, Buġibba, Sliema, Valletta and Cottonera would potentially attract knowledge-based industries to Gozo.

It has also stated that it does not agree with the policy adopted by the government to address the transportation bottleneck by means of widening roads to increase car flow. The Malta Chamber of Commerce explained that research shows how increasing road capacity has an induced demand effect that results in increased traffic.

The Malta Chamber has presented another suggestion with regards to space that is currently occupied by cars that are parked for most of the day and that these should be freed up and used for people to move around, whether it is by bicycles, kick scooters, buses, or anything other than a private car.

“Public Private Partnerships should therefore be considered by which on-road parking spaces could be re-allocated to new multi-storey underground parking spaces, therefore freeing up space on the road for people and putting the cars underground” suggested the Malta Chamber.

Another recommendation regarding transport in Malta and Gozo is a more effective and visible enforcement of existing transport regulations.  This will lead to less road accidents and less delays on roads therefore contributing positively towards the economy, said the Chamber.