Clyde Caruana does not commit to the price of 6 billion euros for a three-line metro system with 25 stations proposed by government consultants.
The finance minister said there will have to be a “thorough discussion” on the financial aspects, but insisted that the proposal so far was a matter of public consultation.
“The problem will eventually come down to making the necessary decisions and determining how realistic certain commitments will be,” he said when asked by MaltaToday if the exorbitant expense was a headache he would like to avoid by as Minister of Finance.
Caruana insisted that public debate on the proposed project continue. “When the time is right for me to delve into the subject, I will have no problem deciding on the matter,” he added.
On Saturday, the government unveiled the results of studies carried out by Arup, a British consultancy firm, on an underground mass transport system on light rail. Studies have been underway since 2016.
Called Metro Malta, the proposal identifies three routes that will be built in stages over a period of 20 years at a total cost of 6 billion euros.
Metro Malta will have 25 stations and will operate in the urban areas around the ports of Valletta.
The consultants have provided an overview of their findings and proposals, but the full studies are not yet published.
The results indicate that among the different public transport options analyzed, a light rail system is best suited in Malta.
This is the first comprehensive study of a metro system in Malta with clearly defined routes, station locations and costs.
One of the biggest problems identified by the consultants is the large volume of excavation waste that will be generated and that will have to be dumped at sea or used in land reclamation projects.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said a national discussion was needed on a mass transport system, its benefits and implications.
But the government has so far stopped before committing to moving forward with implementing the plans, suggesting the discussion should take place over several years.