Europe’s transport systems need public, not private solutions – Sant
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In an explanation of vote before voting in favour of the report 'Sustainable urban mobility' at the European Parliament in Brussels, Maltese MEP Alfred Sant said that the emphasis on public transport systems across the EU should be on public, not private solutions.
Dr Sant said that over 80 percent of Europe's populations live in urban centres. "Europeans are plagued by traffic congestion, long commuting times, environmental pollution and inefficient public transport."
"Worthy efforts continue to overcome the growing problems. Many fail. Given the present context, where privatisation, public-private partnerships and market-based solutions are considered essential elements in a holistic solution, problems will surely multiply not decrease."
Dr Sant stated that the emphasis should be on public, not private solutions. Still, state investment in urban public transport systems has not kept pace with needs. "Moreover, modernising public transport has been confused with privatising, when the real need was to modernise the public management of transport systems."
The Maltese MEP said that generally, there is little impetus in favour of a long term plan. Through major public investments, it would create new infrastructures for mass urban transport. Its control and strategic direction would be retained by public authorities, operating not for profit but to serve a public purpose.
"As a general rule, public transport systems running as if they were private entities cannot solve satisfactorily the large scale problems of urban mobility. At national level, free market ideological dogma obscures this reality. Perhaps it can be countered at a European level, but I doubt it." remarked Dr Sant.