Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley has called on the Government to publish the full plan for the new Metro North project announced in the Capital Plan today. Deputy Dooley is concerned the revised plan will deliver significantly less capacity along a major economic corridor.
Deputy Dooley commented: “The project announced by Minister Paschal Donohoe today is dramatically different to the original Metro North rail project from Dublin city centre to Swords, taking in Dublin Airport. Now we have a project with smaller stations, potentially half the capacity than previously planned with a State saving of less than €500m over 10 years.
“The revised Metro hasn’t gone through a Business Case Analysis and that will be crucial before moving ahead. We’re going to witness a population surge in the Greater Dublin Area over the lifetime of this capital programme and we need our public transport infrastructure to be able to cope with demand. A lot of the road investment will have to be front-loaded into areas where roads, particularly in rural areas, have suffered hugely from under investment under this Government.
“Minister Paschal Donohoe’s Metro plan would only be able to handle an ultimate maximum capacity of 12,000 passengers per hour per direction but the original Metro North proposal with larger stations and larger light rail carriages had an initial capacity of 17,000 passengers per hour per direction, with the option of scaling up to 20,000. For a 20% saving in cost Minister Donohoe is proposing reduced capacity of between 40-67%.
“If the taxpayer is to get real value for money out of this project and if we’re to maximise the economic benefit to the State we shouldn’t be going down the road of small stations, reduced capacity and effectively having Metro North Light. That would be a second rate project from a government lacking in vision and ambition.
“On the capital investment plan as a whole there are quite a lot of projects listed but many lack detail and more clarity is needed. I’m very disappointed not to see the M20 between Cork and Limerick included. The NRA had identified the M20 as a priority project. The 80km stretch of motorway would cut up to 30 minutes off travel time between the second and third cities and reduce congestion in towns. Over 25 % of Ireland’s economic activity is generated in the Mid and South West regions. Limerick and Cork account for one third of Ireland’s population outside of Dublin and the M20 would be a huge addition to our national infrastructure.”