The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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EU funds should not be wasted on useless roads that increase traffic and deadly pollution – ADPD

Sunday, 19 May 2024, 17:51 Last update: about 28 days ago

ADPD - The Green Party Chairperson and candidate Sandra Gauci said Sunday that building junctions and flyovers are just expensive photo-opportunities. As if junctions and flyovers ever solved anything. This is well documented, although government ministers do not seem to know how to read studies and reports including their own master plan. We need to offer various alternatives, including a Bus Rapid Transit system.

The government’s own master plan states that there is a need for ‘bus priority corridors’. We want to develop this proposal into a Malta-wide system. BRT means road space reserved exclusively for buses - a sort of tram on wheels. Government should reward bus users by making their journeys easier. What is happening at the moment? Buses are getting stuck in traffic. BRT solves this problem and prioritises public transport on major roads.

“In the European Parliament with our Green colleagues we insist that EU funds are not wasted on roads that increase traffic and deadly pollution. We insist that funds are spent only on sustainable mobility – safe bicycle routes, pedestrianisation of town and village centres, more ferry routes around ports and a widespread Bus Rapid Transit system,” she said.

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Ralph Cassar, ADPD Secretary General and EP candidate criticised the government’s refusal to implement measures that could really address Malta’s traffic problems. It is true that there is no magical solution but successive governments have done the opposite of what experts recommend when it comes to mobility. They squandered EU funds in useless road widening projects, junctions and flyovers, which in turn increased traffic and deadly pollution. “The Government has repeatedly ignored its own transport master plan,” noted Cassar. This plan, commissioned by government and paid for through EU funds, states black on white that increasing road space for cars will not decrease traffic. But instead of heeding its own reports this government still brags about useless flyovers and road widening. It may fool some, but not everyone is a fool.”

“The government's own master plan says that road space for cars must be reduced to push people into other means of travel,” he said, noting the reluctance of politicians to push people away from using their private cars. Cassar called for roads to be redesigned to guarantee safety for people using alternative means of commuting such as cycling.

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