Tuesday, 15 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
111. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a section of the Dublin-Galway motorway being built by the private sector is costing more per kilometre than a State-financed section of the same route; his estimate of the number of years motorists will have to pay tolls to travel on the section of the motorway constructed by the private sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4789/05]
Minister for Transport (Mr. Cullen): The planning, design and implementation of national roads improvement projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority, NRA, and the relevant local authorities concerned — in this case Westmeath County Council. I assume the Deputy is referring to a recent newspaper report comparing the cost of the upgrade of the Kilcock-Kinnegad section of the N4-N6 to the estimated cost of the Kinnegad-Athlone section of the N6.
I understand from the NRA that the report was inaccurate in a number of respects. The Kilcock to Kinnegad section is a full motorway with provision for the addition of a third lane in the median should that be necessary in the future. The Kinnegad to Kilbeggan section is a standard dual carriageway. Typically, there is a construction cost difference, using standard costings, of over €2 million per kilometre between these two road types. This alone would generate a difference in costs of at least €80 million between the two road types for a 39 km motorway.
The amount of private finance assigned in the newspaper report to the Kilcock-Kinnegad scheme for the purpose of calculating the per kilometre costs was overstated by over €40 million and the length of the Kilcock-Kinnegad scheme was understated by 4 km which would cost approximately €35 million to construct. The combination of these amounted to an overestimate of €120 million.
In addition, the Kilcock-Kinnegad scheme costs include provision for maintenance and reinvestment throughout the 30 year concession period and no such maintenance or life-cycle reinvestment costs apply in the tender price for design and build schemes. The Kilcock-Kinnegad scheme will require the construction of a toll plaza. Allowing for a three year construction period tolls will be payable over 27 years.
It should also be noted that all national road schemes are procured by means of a competitive tendering process in accordance with national and EU tendering and procurement regulations and the Kilcock to Kinnegad PPP contract was subject to rigorous evaluation and the conclusion reached by independent financial advisers to the NRA was that it represented excellent value for money.
112. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he has plans to conduct a buy-out of the deal that has given National Toll Roads control over the West-Link toll bridge until 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4780/05]
Minister for Transport (Mr. Cullen): The West-Link bridge toll agreement, concluded in October 1987 between the then Dublin County Council and NTR, provides that the toll company, NTR plc, has until the expiry of the agreement in the year 2020, the exclusive right to toll traffic using the West-Link bridge. A buy-out of NTR’s rights has not been considered having regard to the potential cost involved, the possible implications for the funding of the upgrade of the M50, and the limited contribution the removal of the toll plaza would make to the reduction of traffic congestion overall on the M50.
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