Four new Luas lines in €116bn vision of future
Four new Luas lines and a metro are included in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's €116bn vision for the future of Ireland.
The blueprint, which will be unveiled today, sets out plans for a new hospital in Dublin to reduce waiting lists and the refurbishment of Mountjoy Prison.
Sources told the Herald that there would also be €2bn for urban regeneration and development.
The plan, which divides the country into three regions, forecasts 25pc population growth in the capital over the next two decades.
Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford are designated as the other major urban centres for expansion, meaning they will get special attention when it comes to infrastructure investment.
The Herald can reveal that other key elements of Project Ireland 2040 include:
25,000 to 35,000 new homes a year.
Building the M20 from Limerick to Cork.
New ambulance bases in Ardee, Mullingar, Cork, Dublin and Galway.
€22bn for climate change initiatives.
20,000 new school places.
A light rail service for Cork.
2,600 new hospital beds.
Refurbishment of 30 garda stations.
€1bn for flood defences.
€1bn for arts and culture.
Funding has been allocated for the planning stages of new Luas routes from Dublin city centre to Bray, Lucan, Finglas and Poolbeg.
Dublin Bus will receive a substantial cash injection to improve connectivity.
The company is being given targets for improving the energy efficiency of its fleet, starting with a ban on buying diesel-fuelled vehicles after July 2019.
Housing, health and transport will receive the majority of the money.
A powerful new body known as the National Regeneration and Development Agency is to be established under Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
It will work with local authorities to free up brownfield sites for new developments, including at locations that are privately owned.
"It will be a Nama-style operation and should be a game changer," one source said.