Thursday, 19 October 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
2. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the funding and implementation arrangements for the £14 billion transport plan for County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22710/00]
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Dublin Transportation Office's strategy for transport in the greater Dublin area for 2000 to 2016, entitled A Platform for Change, is estimated to cost a total of £14.15 billion. This figure includes £4.4 billion in respect of projects identified in the national development plan for the period 2000 to 2006. The strategy identifies a substantial proportion of the proposed infrastructural investment as potentially suitable for delivery as public private partnership projects. These include the additional Luas lines, Metro, the suburban rail interconnector and the eastern bypass. I also expect that a substantial Exchequer contribution will be required over the implementation period to 2016. The financing arrangements will be addressed as the planning and implementation process proceeds, as part of the annual Estimates and budget cycle, in the  mid-term review of the national development plan and in the successors to the current national plan.
The strategy provides an overall planning framework for the development of the transport system in the greater Dublin area. It is not a detailed blueprint for each of the individual projects and programmes. Each project will be taken through a detailed planning process. The DTO has recommended that project teams be established by the implementing agencies for each of the major projects. In the case of the Metro, I can confirm that the CIE light rail project team is already carrying out preliminary technical work related to the project.
The phasing of the strategy is designed to address short-term transportation needs and to put in place an integrated transportation system which will meet the medium to longer-term requirements of the greater Dublin area. The strategy outlines four phases for implementation, from now to 2003, 2004 to 2006, the end of the national development plan, 2007 to 2010 and 2011 to 2016.
Mr. Stagg: Does the Minister agree that since she came to office three and a half years ago, we have seen a succession of plans but very little action? Does she further agree that she spent the first two and a half years as Minister dealing with Luas? Does she agree that this plan, as presented, effectively abolishes Luas, except for one line from Tallaght to Connolly Street, and that the rest of the Luas project has been abandoned? Given that this is really a wish list for the future, will the Minister tell us what action she expects to be taken to implement any part of this plan in the next year? Will we see any action during the lifetime of the Government to implement any part of the plan so that it will be operative before the Minister's full five years as Minister with responsibility for transport is over? Will we see any of this in place?
Mrs. O'Rourke: It was the Deputy who said five years. The first two years were tremendously occupied with safety and the Deputy knows that. Following the independent report, we secured £500 million from Cabinet for rail safety which comprises £350 million for the first three years and the remainder for the next phase. That has commenced and the funding for the third year is included in the Estimates for next year which will be published soon. That will mean £300 million will have been spent on rail safety and, if I did nothing else, that is a good thing to have done.
We decided to concentrate in the immediate term last year on bus provision. Some 150  additional new buses were provided and 223 this year, 100 of which are replacement buses and the other 123 of which are new additional ones. Two more bus lanes have been provided and two more will be provided by the end of the year. New DART carriages have arrived and extra rail carriages are on order.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I hate to tell the Deputy that there are three Luas lines and that money has been provided for the three of them. There is the Tallaght to the city centre line, which is line A, the Sandyford to St. Stephen's Green line, which is line B, and there is line C, which is Connolly Station to the city centre. The three lines have been approved by the judge in his hearings and I have approved the three of them. They have been submitted and have obtained funding.
Mr. Stagg: Given the plan from the Minister's Department and advisers which shows the Luas line going from Tallaght to Connolly Station and nowhere else, why does she continually tell the House that the Luas line is also going elsewhere? Is she not up-to-date with the myriad plans she has given us? I know she bought some buses and spent some money on rail safety.
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