The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Gozo mayors all in favour of metro reaching Gozo, divided on car tunnel

Giuseppe Attard Sunday, 24 October 2021, 08:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

The president of the Gozo Regional Council Samuel Azzopardi said that while not all Gozitan mayors agree on the car tunnel project, there was a unanimous consensus in favour of the metro system reaching the sister island.

The metro project idea was launched earlier this month and, if implemented as presented, it is expected to cost tax payers around €6.2 billion. The project includes three metro lines covering 35 km mainly on the east side of Malta.

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One of the main talking points since the project was made public was the fact that Gozo was not included in the plans.

Speaking to The Malta Independent on Sunday, Azzopardi said that “this is a national project and Gozo should not be left out.”

The Gozo Tourism Authority also spoke in favour, stating Gozo should be part of the metro system.

In an interview, Minister Ian Borg explained why in the study by Arup, the London based company taking care of the metro project, Gozo was left out of the plans.

“Arup is telling us that in order to make a station feasible, there has to be a further 50,000 citizens who reside in Gozo,” Borg said.

Borg also stressed that this is not just an issue for Gozo. “One has to also realise that there are 25 stations on the proposed metro map. Throughout all of Malta and Gozo we have 68 localities, so this is not only an issue about Gozo. There are a lot of localities which are not included.”

The Gozo Tourism Authority responded by stating that the claim does not make sense since Gozo in 2019 saw an excess of 1.5 million one-day tourists and almost 400,000 domestic and foreign tourists spend at least one night.

The GTA asked whether these numbers were taken into consideration when evaluating the possibility of a metro station in Gozo.

Asked by The Malta Independent on Sunday for its position, the Gozo Regional Council said that “whilst mayors had different opinions on the car tunnel project they are unanimous in (wanting) a tunnel for a metro system. There is a consensus among Gozitans on the need to improve connectivity.”

When asked on the localities which opposed the car tunnel project, Azzopardi did not go into any further detail stating that “no official vote was taken since unanimity was found for the metro.”

Borg said that the metro system and car tunnel are two separate projects and they should not be confused together.

Borg said although the metro station is not deemed feasible at present “this does not mean that a station in Gozo will never come to fruition.”

 

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