The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

Metro rather than a tunnel

Alfred Sant Monday, 3 September 2018, 08:23 Last update: about 4 years ago

A friend mentioned how he had read or heard what somebody had written or said about the best long-term solution to the transport problems in Malta and Gozo, as well as between the two islands. Wider roads and a tunnel are not the real solution, but a metro system that runs underground and under the sea from Marsaxlokk straight to Rabat in Gozo.

I reminded him how the project had been highlighted by the PN prior to the last election as a proposal for the future, before that party lost its bearings and hysterically launched wild and baseless claims against the Prime Minister. I also reminded him how years ago, entrepreneur Angelo Xuereb made similar proposals. He had acknowledged though that while being greatly in the public interest, these were not commercially viable.

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The capital outlay for such a project would indeed be phenomenal. However, as of now, the country is carrying enormous costs to keep going the huge number of cars on our roads. Such costs will continue to increase in the future.

Could it be that perhaps we had better do some more sums in order to evaluate the options that are available in the transport sector, including the issue of how to better link up with Gozo?

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Environmental targets

The resignation from the French government of the environmental minister Nicolas Hulot hardly improved the image of President Macron’s leadership. Both the President himself as well as his administration have lost quite a chunk of the popularity they started with. To be sure, this happened to all previous Presidents after their inauguration, though not with such a big bump.

To justify why he resigned, Hulot explained how environmental protection had become a minor priority for the government. He also seemed to acknowledge that the same happened too in the administrations of most other countries. Previously, Hulot had always refused offers to assume executive political responsibilities. Now he was not prepared to serve as a screen for a situation where environmental goals would be kept modest.Even so,  they would still not be achieved, which would contribute to a climatic disaster for the world as a whole.

The fear is that Hulot’s claim is correct. And that the disaster he predicts could happen earlier than he foresees.

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Manwel Gellel

In past weeks, I underwent a curious experience. I read through a novel that I got to know about sixty years ago, when it was being read on cable radio. At the time, I liked it tremendously. What would I think of it now?

“Manwel Gellel” is a historical novel written by Ġuże Cardona that deals with the situation in Malta during the first years of the British occupation, just after the French army having been blockaded for two years, was forced to leave. Huge uncertainties still prevailed regarding the future of the islands. To the extent possible, in Maltese villages the British nominated civic leaders who would toe their line. The man they placed in charge of Ħal-Qormi’s management happened to be an out and out rascal.

I agreed to give an account of my impressions of today about the novel in an introduction to the new edition that the SKS publishing house will be issuing. It is only the second one since the beginning of the 1960’s.

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