Overhaul Gozo Channel instead of building tunnel, PD tells government

The Democratic Party is calling for the introduction of a fast ferry service linking Gozo to several different locations across Malta rather than a permanent link

Rather than a permanent link, the PD is suggesting an overhaul of the Gozo Channel and the implementation of an effective fast ferry service
Rather than a permanent link, the PD is suggesting an overhaul of the Gozo Channel and the implementation of an effective fast ferry service

The construction of the proposed tunnel linking Malta and Gozo will be the death knell of Gozo as we know it, according to the Democratic Party (PD).

The party said that an overhaul of the Gozo Channel and the introduction of an effective fast-ferry service would better suit the needs of the population.

In a statement, the PD said that it’s vision for improving connectivity between the two islands was very different from the government’s “tunnel vision”, which it claims has led the present administration to present a permanent ink as the solution to all of Gozo’s problems.

“Any transport system for Malta has to address our land policy, which has its limitations because of Malta’s size, and for it to be customer friendly, travel reliability, travel time and affordability have to be guaranteed,” MEP candidate Camilla Appelgren said.

The party acknowledged that a tunnel would improve connectivity, but argued that the project had “so many downsides” that it would “sign the death knell of Gozo as we know it,  not to mention the severe environmental impact both during execution as well as once it starts operating”.

PD suggested that a fast ferry passenger service connecting Mgarr Gozo, St Paul’s Bay, Sliema, Valletta and Kalkara, with dedicated connections “via an ACES service (automated, connected, electrical, chaired) towards Bugibba St Julia’s and Smart City would be a “realistic solution”.

Such a system, the PD said, would reduce travel time by “at least 50% by reducing road travel”, adding that this would demand an overhaul of the current service to render it more responsive to market needs.

“Increasing the ferry fleet, scheduling strategic coastline stops, linking it to a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) and providing a consumers’ based commodity service will surely pave the way forward,” MEP candidate Martin Cauchi Inglott said.

PD said it was “for a level playing field of opportunities for Gozitans and Maltese alike”.

“We have to invigorate the Gozitan economy by safeguarding and enhancing the many positives that Gozo possesses.”

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