The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Traffic congestion costs Malta €200 million; will worsen by 2050 if nothing changes – Joe Mizzi

Monday, 23 January 2017, 19:05 Last update: about 6 years ago

Transport Minister Joe Mizzi said today, that traffic congestion is costing the Maltese people €200 million, and if congestion remains and continues to worsen, would cost the country €1.3 billion by 2050.

"It is important not only to be conscious of what is happening now, but to be aware of the future."  He said government has no intention of introducing a tax on congestion, and has no intention of introducing a parking tax.

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He spoke of measures to reduce congestion introduced by government, including that public transport is being offered freely to those turning 18 this year, and said that these help to alleviate the problem.

He said that the public transport system has improved. He said 95% of voyages do not run more than 10 minutes late, and said that in 2016, 290,000 had a tallinja card. The Minister also said that there was a 10% reduction in traffic accidents which included public transport vehicles.

He that government is looking at how to improve infrastructure of arterial roads. Traffic accidents increased over the recent years, and spoke of the importance to implement a strategy regarding road safety. "We are seeing how we can educate people. Through a road safety council, experts give advice and I see how we can push these ideas forward."

He spoke of the National Transport Strategy, and said that this was the first time that such an extensive plan was introduced in Malta. "It is a plan with measures that were costed, and that the public were able to put forward their ideas. It gave a clear picture of how transport can be improved between now and 2050."

Government's aim is to reduce the time one takes to travel between localities, to reduce emissions and reduce traffic congestion, he explained. "Our plan identifies a number of measures, both short and long term.

 

The plan identifies a number of projects which include major road interventions, promoting cycling, investment in port facilities, and studies on long-term projects such as a Malta-Gozo link. "We want to identify a master plan for Paceville, Mriehel and Sliema.  It identifies four major projects,  one of which is a fly-over to avoid a bottleneck on 13 December street and Aldo Moro Street another is the Kappara junction project".

He said that the plan also aims to promote cycling as a valid alternative transport system, and said a cycling route network needs to be identified. The plan also puts forward more priority lanes.

On the Kappara project, he said 40% of the project is complete.

He said that noise pollution will be addressed, through the introduction of sound barriers around the Kappara project. "Managing traffic during the construction phase of the project was a major challenge, but the traffic continued normally while works continued," he said.

The EU approved the first phase of the Addolorata junction project, he said, and the EU is financing 85% of it, he explained. The Marsa junction will be divided in two, the first phase will facilitate the Airport to Valletta, and the second part will deal with traffic going in the opposite direction as well as near the cemetery.


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