The Prime Minister has opened up about ambitious plans to build a light railway network in Malta.
He said the cost of the project if it went ahead ‘would be substantial’.
The Prime Minister added: ‘This does not mean we should not carry the project out.
‘The basic issue is not whether we have this alternative means of transport or not, but whether we agree if this country needs to grow or not.
‘With the current levels of population, a means of mass transport would only be feasible in the Sliema area.
‘And what sort of metro would it be if it merely linked Sliema to St Julian’s?’
He said: ‘Unless Malta’s population were to grow significantly, a metro would only be an option if it was funded through taxes.
‘It’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s the truth.
‘Without growth in population, a metro can only happen through an increase in tax, because no operator would be able to provide the service at a profit.
‘Therefore, we need either more economic growth or more taxation.’
Dr Muscat said British engineering firm Arup had drawn up a detail report on the proposed metro network.
He added: ‘There would have to be a mix-and-match between an over-ground and underground system.
‘And, to have everything in place, we will need around 25 years.’
The Prime Minister was speaking during a question and answer session at the The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry in Valletta.