Unorthodox move by Labour to get parliamentary support for Gozo tunnel

A motion presented by ministers Ian Borg and Justyne Caruana seeks parliament’s backing for the Gozo tunnel project

Ministers Ian Borg and Justyne Caruana filed the Gozo tunnel motion on Tuesday
Ministers Ian Borg and Justyne Caruana filed the Gozo tunnel motion on Tuesday

Government has adopted the unorthodox approach of seeking parliament’s support for the Gozo tunnel project by presenting a motion asking MPs to back the development.

The motion was filed with the Speaker’s office on Tuesday by Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg and Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana.

The move can be interpreted as an initiative to commit the Opposition to the Gozo tunnel project, which had originally been the brainchild of former PN minister Chris Said.

The motion refers to the electoral manifestos of the two major parties in Parliament, which promised a permanent link between Malta and Gozo. It also notes that plans for the project started in the 2008 legislature by the then Nationalist administration, continued in the last legislature and works will likely go beyond the current legislature.

The motion recognises the challenges the project is expected to create in terms of waste generated by the digging and the need to preserve Gozo’s natural beauty and its cultural identity.

It finally calls on MPs to back the project.

Studies on the proposed tunnel that will have entrances at Nadur in Gozo and l-Imbordin in Malta is expected to generate one million cubic metres of waste.

Although the motion keeps open the option of the tunnel being used for a mass transport system in the future, last January, Borg told MaltaToday that restricting the Gozo tunnel to public transport only was “not a viable solution to the current difficulties encountered by residents and businesses in Gozo”.

A MaltaToday survey last year found widespread support in Malta and Gozo for the tunnel project. However, several environmental groups have expressed serious concern over its impact on Gozo’s rural environment and the generation of waste that will have to be disposed somewhere.

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