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PN critical of decision to remove responsibility for local roads from councils

A blow to the process of devolution

The Nationalist Party said today that a government decision to assume responsibility for all road works, including those previously handled by local councils, was taken without consultation and represented a step backwards in the process of devolution, 25 years after the local councils were set up.

 

Marthese Portelli, shadow minister for transport, said that while roadworks were carried out by the new Roads Agency, local councils should be able to decide which roads should be done up.

The budget speech, she said, showed how the government had no plan for the sector. While everyone suffered the daily traffic chos, the government was lost and was not offering solutions.

READ: Responsibility for maintenance of all roads to be taken over by new authority

She said that Transport Malta workers already experienced in this work should be given the opportunity to work in the new agency.

All contractors should be given equal opportunity to bid for roadworks.

Should the government decide to bring in foreign road experts, they should work with the Maltese, rather than sideline them.

Dr Portelli said the rebuilding of the roads should be carried out in the context of a wider traffic management plan that considered Malta's transport needs for many years to come. Repairing the roads would not, on its own, solve traffic problems.

Mr Cutajar, PN spokesman on local councils, said the government was, through its actions, dismantling the local councils. It had decided to assume responsibility for all roads, even those in residential areas, without even consulting the councils. This, he said, was a blow to the councils, which were set up almost 25 years ago.

Labour reaction

The Labour Party said that in rebuilding all the roads, the government would be giving the biggest support possible to local councils.  

With the government assuming responsibility for the roadworks, the councils would be free to use their funds in other areas.  

In contrast, former governments handed responsibilities to the councils, without adequate funds. 

The PL also pointed out that the roadworks project was promised before the general election and the government had a mandate for it. 

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