herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

'Revised' Metro North plan to go to Cabinet

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is to bring ambitious plans to develop new bus, rail and Luas links to link Dublin city with the Airport and Swords to Cabinet by the summer.

The plans are part of a drive by Minister Donohoe to see capitol spending on transport projects more than treble from €500m a year to €1.8bn, which he said would simply get it back up to historic long-term average levels.

"There has been a valuation process underway in relation to a number of transport options for the northside of the city," he said.

"We will look at a new Luas line that would be new hard rail network, anew redesigned metro, or maybe a combination of BRT [Bus Rapid Transit] higher capacity bus system on its own road network," said Mr Donohoe who is a Dublin Central TD.

With some suggestion that Metro North is effectively dead, Mr Donohoe confirmed that a reduced and revised version with fewer stations is still on the table.

"One of the options is LR7, a redesigned metro, and optimised metro with fewer stations," he said.

controversial

Mr Donohoe said he is finalising details of the plan, which includes provision for the controversial Bus Rapid Transit or "bendy buses".

Under the plan, the long-single decker buses would run in "highly segregated" lanes away from other traffic at high frequency.

Those in favour of them say they are more cost effective than light rail, while opponents criticise the need to dig up existing roads to facilitate their usage.

He said the main priority is to develop the links between the city centre, the Airport and the Swords area, which he said is set to expand significantly in the decade ahead.

"Particularly for Dublin Airport and Swords, city centre access is essential for the development of our city," he said.

Asked about the funding, Mr Donohoe said exchequer allocation for capitol investment fell from €3bn in 2008, or 1.64pc of GDP. That fell further to €855m in 2013, which was 0.52pc. of GDP.

Mr Donohoe said that he hoped to increase spending on transport to €1.8bn.

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