Hal Far racetrack earmarked for metro depot, MP tells House

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg hits back at criticism by the Opposition on the free public transport measure, saying it has no credentials on the sector

The proposed racetrack in Hal Far
The proposed racetrack in Hal Far

Nationalist MP Tony Bezzina said a maintenance depot for the proposed metro will be erected on the same site which government has promised a race track.

“Who is the government deceiving, the general public or motorsport enthusiasts?” Bezzina said in parliament on Wednesday.

The PN MP was speaking during a budget debate on the infrastructure sector.

Bezzina said the Opposition finds no issue with the metro, as long as the proper studies were issued.

He also slammed government for widening roads, but not being able to eliminate traffic congestion.

“In the last days traffic has increased more than before even in certain areas, even in places where roads where widened,” Bezzina said.

Addressing the House, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg hit back at criticism by the opposition on the free public transport measure, saying it has no credentials on the sector.

“When we switched to Arriva, you made us the laughing stock of Europe,” he said.

Borg said the free transport measure would not be introduced in January so that government has the time to get the needed vehicles for the service to work smoothly.

“We do not want to make the same mistakes you did,” he said.

On the Marsascala marina, Borg said the country has three options: to stop the registration of new boats, to store the maritime vehicles on ODZ land or to exploit the 2006 rationalisation plans on development boundaries carried out by the PN.

“So, when Bernard Grech says he would not be building a marina in Marsascala, people do not take him seriously,” Borg said.

The minister said government has carried out infrastructural works across the country, and the PN would be wrong in saying that the blueprints for major projects like the Central Link were drawn up under a nationalist administration.

In his speech, MP David Thake said there was a “disaster” in the electric vehicle sector, saying government has not installed any new charging points.

“Perhaps a few would be installed as an electoral gimmick, but who would believe the government's commitment of installing thousands more?” he said.

Borg rebutted by saying all Thake does is “vomit hate”.

“This is symptomatic of the PN,” he said.

Clifton Grima says that the study only serves as a guideline

Parliamentary Secretary for Sports Clifton Grima said that the experts from ARUP commissioned an independent feasibility study for the metro. He added that the government opened the study for discussion and would only take a decision after.

He said that the MP Toni Bezzina sought “spin and headlines” and that the Opposition is only interested in division, rather than a serious discussions on a mass transport system.