Two consortia and two companies have shown an interest in the proposed tunnel project between Malta and Gozo, and have replied to the first phase of the process by expressing an interest in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of the project, which will be paid for through toll payments by those who cross the channel between the islands. Interested companies include one registered in Malta, and others from Italy, France, Holland, Turkey and Japan.
The project for the permanent link between the islands, which started being considered way back in 2012 and which had been promised in the electoral programmes of both main parties, continued to evolve when two consortia and two companies expressed an interest to go for this project and operate it.
Infrastructure and Capital Projects Minister Ian Borg stated that with today’s expiry date by which the Department of Contracts and Infrastructure Malta receive submissions following the call issued in January, four submissions have been received at this early stage of the process, with other phases to follow.
Minister Borg added that the companies had all the details of the studies which were carried out. The Minister further stated that this international interest shows it is not just the Maltese and Gozitans who believe this project is feasible, but also international companies who are giants in the infrastructure sector.
Infrastructure Malta Chief Executive Frederick Azzopardi stated the evaluation will now start by the Department of Contracts to ensure the companies satisfy the criteria. Mr Azzopardi added that throughout the whole process, the authorities will be assisted by a Norwegian expert who had offered his consultancy from the very beginning. It was explained that the Government will give a concession for this project to be implemented, but will not be paying for it.
Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri stated that international interest in the tunnel project is a step closer to the fulfilment of the dreams of Gozitans, and Gozo will stop the exodus of youths while being in a better position to attract more investment.