Last Updated on Monday, 31 January, 2022 at 2:48 pm by Andre Camilleri
The Central Link Project was officially inaugurated on Sunday and Prime Minister Robert Abela stressed the importance of this project as well as others like it.
The project spans from Rabat to Mriehel. While it has been inaugurated, work at Mriehel is still ongoing.The Central Link project had seen its fair share of controversy, primarily due to the removal of mature trees. The government however, argues that more trees have been planted than had been removed.
During a press conference on site, Abela said that Since 2017, the government has embarked on the largest infrastructure projects in the history of the country. “We understood that a growing economy needs to be sustained through unprecedented infrastructural development in roads, energy and in the digital field.”
Projects like the central link were left on paper for decades, he said.
“We invested a total of €140 million on 7 projects – Central Link, the Marsa junction, the Santa Luċija project, Tal-Balal, Triq Buqana, the Hamrun-Marsa bypass, Triq Sant Andrija.”
Through these projects, the people will reap the benefits which amount to over €1billion when calculating the time save in traffic, less expenses for businesses and reduced emissions, he said.
He said that for every euro invested, the benefits multiply themselves many times over.
Infrastructure and environment are aspects that complement each other, he said. “Every infrastructure project also has the environmental dimension.”
“With projects mentioned, we will reduce emissions and reduce the time spent wating in traffic. When calculating the amount of emission reduction through projects like this, they are equivalent to what is being saved through solar panels around the country.”
While the government’s aim is for people to use private vehicles less, the solution is not to abandon road infrastructure, he said. “Those before us barely worked on improvement projects and unfortunately Malta had highest levels of emissions in history.”
He mentioned a number of plans the government has to reduce private vehicle usage, including making public transport free for everyone by October, and mentioned the infrastructure for cyclists the government has included in projects, as well as incentives to change to electric vehicles.
Turning to the Crafts Village in Ta’ Qali, Abela said that it is being given new life. It will be one of the nicest attractions in the country and will be of international standards, he said.
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said that the whole country is benefiting from this project, including Attard and the towns in the centre of the island.
He said he has his head held high as people are saving time instead of being stuck in traffic, and there are people walking, running, using their bicycles.
He said that the number of trees increased in the area and that this infrastructure project was an environmental one.
“Everyone recognises the project was needed and it is changing their quality of life,” Borg said.
Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that “A country that wants to modernise itself and sustain its economy, must invest in its infrastructure.”
The Central Link project cost around €55 million, he said, adding that it was co-financed through EU Funds. “€11 million came from the Cohesion fund and 4 million came from the Regional Development fund,” he explained.
“Aside from improving the road network, the project had an environmental committment, to reduce emissions.”
Infrastructure Malta CEO Fredrick Azzopardi argued that for many years, the Central Link project was kept on the shelf, before this government went forward with it. Many families, he said, spent years with traffic in front of their homes, with the emissions resulting from that. “It is not easy to find courageous administrations to implement a project like this,” he said.
He said that there are now 950 more trees in the area than there were two years ago. When historical finds were found, Infrastructure Malta worked with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, he said.