NEWS | Sunday, 18 November 2007

Greens propose underground system

Bianca Caruana

Harry Vassallo, leader of the Green Party, has proposed a revolutionary transport system for Malta, though not new, which he should be implemented immediately and over the next 20 to 30 years.
“Malta should be considered as a city not an amalgamation of villages or settlements. One thing that would emphasise this concept would be the introduction of an underground system,” Vassallo said, saying it would bring Malta and Gozo closer together, and bring the country into the 21st century.
Asked by MaltaToday if this was both practical and economically feasible, Vassallo explained that millions have been spent on roads, saying it has come to light that the majority of roads in Malta have been a waste of money. “If all this money had been spent on an underground system, Malta would have the best underground in the world at a lesser cost,” Vassallo said.
AD calculates the cost as €1 million per kilometre of the underground system. The party said that considering Malta is just 24 kilometres long, €24 million does not seem a great amount when compared to the millions spent year in year out on the construction of roads.
Vassallo criticised the government’s lack of progress regarding the advancement in public transport in Malta over the past 50 years. He said that what must immediately be done in the short-term was to urge the government to remove all taxes and licenses on low-powered motorcycles and encourage more people, youth in particular, to adopt this mode of transportation.
“We recognise that many people are weary of using this means of transport due to road safety, and rightly so. We therefore also propose that there is to be a nationwide expansion of special lanes, in which motor-cycles can be driven,” Vassallo said.
“If these proposals are to be taken up by government, those who do not possess a driving-licence will be able to make use of free weekly and monthly bus passes. Those who are willing to give their licence up will also be apply for these passes as an incentive to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.”
Vassallo said transport required urgent reform. “A privately-owned car should not be seen as an extension of the identity but as a last resort to be used if, in the case of Malta, public transport is not efficient.”
“The waste has been great, but the savings could be enormous if our political perspectives changed to suit what is really needed in Malta. Politicians should view transport system in a different way because it is becoming a crippling way of life,” Vassallo said.


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