Minister Ian Borg moots metro at Newsbook Business Breakfast

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Minister for transport and Infrastructure Ian Borg said that the Marsa project was nearing its end and was at a critical phase. In addressing the Newsbook Business Breakfast, Minister Borg spoke of the investment being made in transport infrastructure which should lead to better links between towns and villages as well as better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. He also said that the construction of a metro was required to ensure that commuting is facilitated. We need to discuss several issues: trees, excavation, house taxes as well as the local plans for the metro to be constructed.

While the time of the pandemic permitted us to think, said Minister Borg, it appears that no one wants to go back to that time. The key factor is how can we achieve the better air quality and decrease in transportation while not reverting to a lockdown situation, said the Minister. One of these, he opined, is the positive development of increased virtual meetings. 

In every society, said Minister Borg, a public mode of transport needs to be in place, a system which will be efficient and sustainable. When this was attempted, said Minister Borg the public resisted the change since this was, in effect, a culture change. He added that the this was again attempted recently and coupled with an infrastructure drive. The Public transport system, he said, is expected to be efficient and on time. The attempt at a culture change started by giving 60,000 persons, mainly youths, the facility to use the public transport for free, said Minister Borg. 

Ferries, said the Minister for transport was another modal shift which Malta had just embarked upon. He said that this type of transport is coupled with the infrastructure and should facilitate commutes. 

Later in the meeting, in reply to comments made by the panel and in a vox pop, Minister Ian Borg said that enforcement is an issue. Replying to criticism levelled by Bicycle Advocacy Group’s Michelle Attard Tonna, Minister Borg said that enforcement works but drivers need to follow rules as well. He added that when cars are not in use, they should not be on the road so that those spaces are used for alternative means of transport. While some local councils are introducing pedestrian areas, these need to be very carefully thought out as they would continue to restrict traffic.