[WATCH] Seven road projects will benefit economy to the tune of €1.2 billion, study finds

For every €1 invested in these seven road projects, the country will be getting back €7 in economic benefits and cost savings

The main road in St Andrew's is slated for an upgrade to improve traffic flow in the area
The main road in St Andrew's is slated for an upgrade to improve traffic flow in the area
Seven road projects will benefit economy to the tune of €1.2 billion, study finds

An investment of €141 million in seven major road projects will give the country a return of €1.2 billion over a 25-year lifespan, an impact study has concluded.

The analysis carried out by economist Gordon Cordina for Infrastructure Malta showed that less traffic congestion will lead to 62,000 tonnes less of CO2 emissions, 5 million hours of saved travelling time every year and €25 million savings in fuel costs.

The road projects analysed were the widening of Triq Tal-Balal between San Ġwann and Naxxar, the widening of Triq Buqana in the outskirts of Mosta and Mġarr, the Central Link project in Attard, the redesign of the main road in St Andrew’s, the widening of the Marsa-Hamrun bypass, the Marsa junction project and the Santa Luċija tunnels.

The investment in these seven projects is equivalent to 20% of the projected investment in road projects over the next seven years.

The findings were presented on Monday morning at a conference for which several stakeholders were present.

Cordina said a 2012 European Commission study had found that traffic congestion would cost Malta €275 million per year.

The widening of the Marsa-Hamrun bypass is one of seven projects that will give the country a return of €7 for every €1 spent
The widening of the Marsa-Hamrun bypass is one of seven projects that will give the country a return of €7 for every €1 spent

The investment in developing road infrastructure was necessary to start chipping away at the cost identified by the European Commission.

“The investments were necessary to support road transport viability but they also need to be complemented by other measures aimed at optimising the effective use of the available road infrastructure and vehicle fleet.”

Cordina said solutions would eventually have to go beyond targeting roads and proposed that a percentage of annual cost savings be ring-fenced for other projects that could reduce car dependence and restore disturbed land areas.

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said the study findings showed that the country had spent years losing money and suffering from problems “caused by a passive attitude”.

Borg said he will be putting forward Cordina’s proposal to invest part of these gains in green infrastructure for consideration in Budget 2020.

In a short reference to the fatal road accidents over the weekend, Borg said none of the accidents had to do with the road works underway.

“There are magisterial inquiries underway and my appeal to motorists is to be responsible for their actions on the road,” Borg said. 

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