Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Kildare North Cllr James Lawless has criticised the Government for failing to prioritise DART Underground as part of its next round of capital spending.
Cllr Lawless made the comments following reports that the Government is set to axe the DART Underground, despite having spent €300m on the project to date.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Government does not have the foresight to proceed with the construction of DART Underground. The project offers enormous benefits for commuters and businesses across the entire Greater Dublin Area” said Cllr Lawless.
“DART Underground would transform the public transport network and would provide a long term economic return for not only Dublin, but also the entire country. DART Underground is underpinned by solid research and analysis which clearly outlines the major economic benefits of the project.
“Commuters in Kildare currently have to put up with a rail service to Dublin which is far from adequate. There is no direct access to Dublin City Centre which means longer and more expensive commuting times. DART Underground would help solve this problem by giving Kildare commuters direct access to not only Dublin City Centre, but also to rail services along the eastern coast.
“We have serious problems with our public transport network in the Greater Dublin Area due to lack of forward planning. The rail network that was in place in Ireland over a century ago was more advanced than the current services available to commuters. The Government continuously talks about the need for people to use utilize public transport but it is not making the necessary investment to allow them to do so.
“There are indications that the Government is axing DART Underground in order to proceed with a LUAS light rail extension to Dublin Airport. This plan is fundamentally flawed as it will be much slower than already existing bus links. The proposed LUAS extension will not even stop close to the airport terminal buildings. There can be no doubt that this light rail service would be grossly under-utilized from day one and will end up being a strain on the economy.
“There is still time for the Government to reverse its decision to axe the DART Underground. €300m has already been spent on the project and construction could begin without delay if the Government allocated the necessary funding. If this project is axed then public transport planning in the Greater Dublin Area will be set back by two decades.