herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Work on Metro North to begin in 2021, opening six years later

Shane Ross backs the plan
Shane Ross backs the plan

Construction work on Metro North will begin in 2021 and the light rail system will open for business six years later, the Government has announced.

A €750m redesign of the capital's bus network, more than €110m for walking and cycling facilities in the cities and improvements to the rail network will make the four-year transport investment programme the "most climate-friendly" ever, Transport Minister Shane Ross said.

Announcing a €7.5bn investment programme to 2021, Mr Ross also said that construction of Metro North will begin in four years' time, along with a €4.2bn roads package that aims to remove bottlenecks.

The amount to be spent on public transport is €2.7bn, with €215m for sport and €168m for tourism.

Mr Ross said the measures would help address climate change and tackle congestion.

Bus Connects, the €750m revamp of the capital's bus network, will finance new and expanded bus routes and improve access through and around Dublin.

In addition to work on Metro North, a €680m investment in additional rail infrastructure over the next four years will also provide for extra Luas capacity and Dart expansion.

A figure of €110m has been allocated for walking and cycling facilities in main cities over the next four years.

Emission

The Department of Transport will fund a €35m scheme to back new ideas to help de- carbonise the transport sector, including pilot initiatives for low-emission technology, which could include electric and biofuel buses.

Mr Ross announced the details in a package that included a short video setting out planned capital projects.

Investment in a sports capital programme at local level as well as a completed National Indoor Arena and funding for other sporting infrastructure were also mentioned as part of yesterday's funding announcement.

"My top priority is to rapidly increase investment in public transport," he said.

"We need to do much more than add new buses to the existing network.

"The impact of climate change is very real and must be strenuously addressed. The regions, as well as Dublin, will benefit from climate-friendly investments totalling €280m. It is the most climate-friendly transport package ever planned."

Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin said: "I am pleased that we have been able to secure a 3pc increase in sports expenditure for 2018.

"Through this increase, we will be able to allocate more for the current Sports Capital Programme and we will see the progression of the second phase of the National Indoor Arena with completion expected in 2019.

"We will also be able to plan a scheme for large-scale sporting projects in the future."

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