[WATCH] Alternattiva says government's infrastructure projects will cause further congestion

Alternattiva Demokratika leader Carmel Cacopardo said that Attard is choked with traffic and unbridled construction

From left: Mina Tolu, AD MEP candidate; Carmel Cacopardo, AD leader; Ralph Cassar, AD local councils candidate
From left: Mina Tolu, AD MEP candidate; Carmel Cacopardo, AD leader; Ralph Cassar, AD local councils candidate

Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) said that, ironically, the government's infrastructural projects aimed to lessen traffic congestion will actually further it. 

AD was referring mainly to the government's Central Link Project, a transport ministry initiative with an investment of €55 million to upgrade four kilometres of road in a bid to lower travel time between Mriehel and Mosta by 50%.

"The Central Link project and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) consider many options on the investment in infrastructure for mobility but completely ignores the option of alternative transport," AD leader Carmel Cacopardo said.

He added that several studies conducted in foreign countries concluded that the widening of roads for car use would incentivise vehicles and eventually increase congestion. The Central Link Project will do just that, AD said, as interventions to limit traffic congestion should not be limited to infrastructural changes to cater for vehicles.

"AD is not satisfied with the Central Link project. It is not even necessary. A transport strategy approved in 2016 showed that the majority of people use their cars for trips not longer than 15 minutes," Cacopardo said, insisting that if the government invests in better cycling strategies and alternative transport, cars would not be used in the majority of these trips.

Cacopardo was joined by Ralph Cassar, AD secretary general, and Mina Tolu, AD MEP candidate, at a press conference in Attard.

"If people realise that they can get from point A to point B with ease and without the use of a car, they will buy into it. If the government keeps investing in projects that encourage car use, widening of roads that could otherwise be used for cycling, then obviously more people would use more cars," Cacopardo said.

He added that the role of the government is to give direction and that the National Transport Strategy 2050 announced by the government last year had some good ideas, paid consultants for its drafting, but the government itself was not even implementing it, proceeding instead to invest in mega infrastructural projects that contradicted the strategy and incentivised car use.

Cassar, councillor in Attard for over 15 years, has worked for the planting of trees in urban areas, a new public library, new bike racks, restoration of historic sites and the promotion of waste reduction in Attard.

He lamented that Attard has become choked with traffic and unbridled construction and the Central Link project and other government initiatives would exacerbate the problem.

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