‘We want an efficent public transport service’ – Mizzi

Transport Minister Joe Mizzi says government will not rest until the public transport service becomes ‘efficient’.

The government wants an efficient public transport service which would lead to less cars on the road, resulting in less traffic congestion, incidents and air pollution.

Addressing parliament, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi took the previous administration to task for "creating high expectations" but committed a lot of mistakes.

"Everyone remembers former minister Austin Gatt declaring a revolution in public transport... and everyone knows about the mess he left behind," Mizzi said.

He said the Labour government couldn't leave things as they were and it therefore initiated consultations with the public and local councils who came back with their own suggestions.

"This consultation did not cost a cent," he said.

Mizzi said discussions with Arriva were now in their final stages and the public should now expect a decent service.

Mizzi said Budget 2014 has allocated an additional €43 million for various projects from EU funds, National Funds and Cohesion Funds.

"We will not sacrifice capital expenditure to address deficit but we will control recurrent expenditure," he said.

The minister said that since March, the Labour government invested €5 million in the Cottonera project, allocated €11 million for the national flood relief project and €35 million on the Ten-T road network project.

"Government gave the necessary priority to the Dock 1 project since the very first day of the legislature. What was not carried out in six years was implemented in six months," Mizzi said.

He said, works on Dock 1 were moving at a fast pace and government was working on the regeneration of the Cottonera. In collaboration with other ministries, the government will be restoring the steeples of the Bormla parish church which is in imminent danger of collapsing.

Mizzi said the government was planning on regenerating the rest of the dock area, a project "set to reflect Cottonera's maritime history and its traditions".

He said the ministry was prioritising projects which addressed the cause of "traffic bottlenecks".

He said, works on the Kappara junction will start next year, a project "which has been on the cards since 1996 but never materialised".

Another priority will be the Marsa Junction, the over-pass in 13 December road and the "connection project" at the Mriehel bypass.

With the increase in traffic problems, Mizzi said the situation had worsened with congestion in arterial roads no longer limited to peak hours but spreaded throughout the whole day.

The minister noted that part of the traffic problem was the "lack of discipline of certain driver and lack regulations enforcement".

"But one cannot expect that what wasn't done in 25 years is caried out in eight months. Our first stop was to develop a national plan for traffic management while the department responsible of road statement has carried out an analysis on those zones which are more prone to congestion."

The analysis is set to propose short-term measures to address the problem.

According to Mizzi, correspondence dating back to November 2012 revealed that traffic lights cables and controllers were "expired".

Is BUZULLOTTU anywhere to be seen? Eh, le bil-haqq, he did say he abandoned politics for big, big business. Oh sorry, was that then, or now?