Gozo tunnel studies being finalised, will be published in due course – Government
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The Government has said that “the necessary studies on a Gozo tunnel, including technical, economic and environmental, have been, or are being finalised by independent experts approved by the authorities concerned and will be published in due course.”
In a statement it said that the publications will be as “part of the determination process for all required permits to start the tunnel excavation.”
The Government argued that a permanent connectivity project between Malta and Gozo, “enjoyed the support and the democratic mandate of the majority of the Maltese and Gozitans.”
It also said that it is “being carried out with utmost care and attention, in the best interest of the country, in accordance with planning rules, the local environment and the European Union.”
Responding to the recent criticism by a number of entities on the tunnel project, the Government said that “studies have been planned for many years, and this project is an important development for Gozitan families”
“The development of a permanent link between Malta and Gozo is essential for Gozitan families to enjoy a better quality of life, while having the same social and economic opportunities of households in Malta,” it argued.
Adding that “thousands of families in Gozo have been suffering for years from difficulties in various areas of their lives due to the lack of a reliable and permanent connection between the islands.”
“The planning of the project included many studies,” the Government said, “including social impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis among others.”
It added that, “these studies have considered inter alia the viability of the project, the positive and negative impacts that it may have on society, the economy and other areas.”
“The Environment impact assessment began midway through last year and there should be a preliminary outcome published in the coming months,” the Government said.
It explained that, “at the end of the day, these studies will be the basis upon making the final public consultation, and depending on the results, the authorities will then take the final decision on this infrastructure investment.”
“The Government is mandated to carry out this project, for which there is also agreement from the Opposition,” it said.
The Government statement concluded that it is “going ahead with its planning with the utmost care and in the most meticulous way to ensure that is carried out in a more sustainable way, in the best interest of families and businesses in Gozo.”