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Ministry of Transport is handing over projects worth €3.1 billion

23/01/2023 08:03

The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works is handing over a legacy of projects worth a total of 3.1 billion euros to the next government, Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday, during an event presenting the ministry's work over the last three years.

According to Karousos, his assumption of office in 2020 coincided with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the adoption of unprecedented measures such as the closure of airports. He added that Cyprus was the first country in the EU to draw up and implement an action plan for the reopening of airports, offering a package of significant incentives to airlines to continue and transfer their activities in Cyprus, while he also praised the cooperation of all stakeholders in the efforts to repatriate Cypriot citizens from abroad.

According to the Minister, in the period 2020-2023, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works had under its control projects worth €1.9 billion, which with the addition of the development of the port and marina of Larnaca reach €3.1 billion.

The ministry currently has the highest budget in its history, amounting to 466 million euros, increased by 50% compared to 2013, while the ministry's development expenditure is two and a half times higher than in 2013 Karousos continued.

"All the major projects announced by the President of the Republic are under construction," the minister noted, citing the development of the Larnaca marina and port at a cost of 1.2 billion euros, which will create 4,000 new jobs and contribute 120 million euros to the domestic product.

As regards Cyprus connectivity with other countries, Karousos referred to a 474% increase in the number of passengers of cruise ships compared to 2021, while regarding air connectivity, the Minister said that despite the loss of the Russian and Ukrainian markets, passenger traffic in 2022 reached 82% of the 2019 number, with 147 routes from 52 airlines to 48 countries, while the target for 2023 is to exceed the 2019 performance.

At the European level, Karousos stressed that Cyprus upgraded its presence in the EU Transport Council of Ministers, achieving, within the framework of the Fit for 55 objectives, the approval of a sustainable aviation fuel allowance mechanism and the recognition of the country's specificity as an island state.

On road transport, the Minister referred to the adoption for the first time of a policy framework for electrification, with a national target of 25% of new vehicle registrations being electric by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

On traffic congestion, Karousos said that a series of measures have been taken, such as the construction of new road networks and the installation of smart traffic lights in Nicosia and Limassol, which are expected to result in a 10-35% improvement in traffic, a new public transport system with new routes and infrastructure, and flexible hours for public servants between 7 and 9 am, which will bring an additional 6% improvement.

In the area of road safety, he noted that 2022 was the year with the lowest number of road traffic fatalities in history with 37, while in terms of outreach and awareness activities he singled out the successful Road Safety Ambassadors initiative and the obligation to display road safety messages in vehicle or alcohol related advertisements.

Finally, Karousos thanked the President of the Republic for the trust he has shown in him, as well as the Ministry’s Directors General, his team and all the staff of the Ministry for their valuable contribution to the work of the Ministry over the past three years, adding that the results and the first benefits of the projects under construction will soon begin to be felt by citizens.