The Malta Independent 10 April 2020, Friday

Gozo Business Chamber disagrees with proposal to reconsider tunnel project

Friday, 21 February 2020, 10:08 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) disagrees with the Malta Chamber of Commerce's recommendation to the government, to reconsider the investment in the tunnel between Malta and Gozo.

One of the Malta Chamber of Commerce' recommendations calls for the evolution of public transport systems, and for the government to reconsider the Malta-Gozo tunnel and direct investment towards building a multi-modal transportation backbone with metro connectivity to Gozo and a widened ferry network between Gozo and areas in Malta such as Valletta, Bugibba, Sliema, and Cottonera.

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In a statement, the GBC welcomed the 2020-2025 Vision Document published by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, and endorsed a number of its recommendations., but not the aforementioned.

The GBC reiterated "the fundamental need for more efficient, reliable and cost-effective transportation between Malta and Gozo, with the smaller island being home to 6% of the population and 5% of economic activity. Gozo is falling short from optimising its contribution to the Maltese economy in good part because of connectivity barriers, with the time required to reach centres of major activity being 4 to 5 times longer than those in Malta, and the virtual complete dependence on an ageing vessel fleet. "

The GBC emphasised that the tunnel between the two islands has the potential to provide the most cost-effective connectivity option. "The tunnel project is a complement, not a competitor, to the implementation of multi-modal transport systems on a national scale. It would be expected to serve as the backbone of a network comprising public and shared vehicle transportation, and water and air connectivity. The tunnel project would deliver an effective link between the two islands within a reasonable period in the future, as opposed to often-mooted rail alternatives which would take decades to implement at multiples of the cost."

"The GBC looks forward to the delivery of this project with an overall policy framework leading to a distinctive economic model for Gozo based on its ecological and sustainable development potential, permeating activities ranging from agriculture to manufacturing, tourism and new economy services, and where the younger population can effectively meet its lifestyle and career aspirations."


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