[WATCH] Minister plays down prospect of nationwide metro system

Transport Minister Ian Borg confirmed that the government already has a first draft for a potential system but could not say with certainty that a metro would be built

Transport Minister Ian Borg said it would be premature to reveal more of the government's metro plans
Transport Minister Ian Borg said it would be premature to reveal more of the government's metro plans

It is still too early in the day to say with certainty whether the idea of a metro in Malta will materialise, according to Transport Minister Ian Borg.

The Transport Minister, asked for details on the government’s plans to construct a metro system on the island, in light of the reports that Transport Malta has applied to register “Metro Malta” as trademark, said that, while studies on such a mass transport system were now at an advanced stage, the time is not yet ripe for the government to divulge more information on the subject.

Borg, who was giving comments to journalists following his address a STEM Alliance event, said that Transport Malta had be wise to block off the “Metro Malta” name, since this was one of a number of name ideas which were being suggested.

Speaking on current affairs programme Dissett on Wednesday, Borg said that the cost of such a project would run into the billions and could potentially take up to 25 years to complete. He said there were a number of ideas that were being proposed through the media, adding that while it was good for the matter to be discussed, it was very easy for an individual to simply “outline his vision and give to a journalist”.

He insisted that the government was taking the issue seriously and would not be making any statements until it was able to answer any questions that could arise.

“We’ve been studying in the past year, through an international firm hired by Transport Malta, the possibility and feasibility of a mass transport system for the island. This would preferably be a metro, because of the challenges of travelling on the surface of the island. This, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t also challenges when it comes to an underground travel system,” Borg said.

READ ALSO: Metro Malta registered as trademark for underground transport system

“The studies in this regard are ongoing, and are at an advanced stage. As I said on a TV programme earlier this week, we’ve been given the first draft [plan],” he highlighted, “There still a lot of discussion to be done on the matter, and we think it would be premature of us to make further revelations at this stage.”

“I would wish that in the coming months we could come up with a viable solution and that we would decide about the issue, because Maltese people would like to have a mass transport system in place. But it would be premature if we revealed what our plans are,” he stressed.

Pressed on whether the building of the metro was something which would definitely happen, Borg said that at this point he wasn’t able to commit with certainty on the matter. “There are still questions [to be answered] and revisions to our plans and ideas. It is still a work in progress.”

The cost of such a project is also still a matter being discussed with experts in the field, he added.

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