Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (40, 41)

Mary Upton

Question:

142 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding plans for the construction of a metro system in Dublin; if he will give the estimated cost; the likely time frame for construction and completion; when the route will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2120/04]

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Trevor Sargent

Question:

169 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Transport when he expects to bring the business case proposals for the first Dublin metro line to Cabinet; if he will outline the revisions to the Rail Procurement Agency plan he called for late last year; and if the proposal he will present to Cabinet will include the city centre alignment with stations close to the Mater Hospital, O'Connell Street, D'Olier Street and Stephen's Green which has been reported in the papers as the preferred route. [2161/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 169 together.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a metro with a link to Dublin Airport.

The original outline business case for phase 1 of the metro from the Railway Procurement Agency, RPA, involved a line from the airport to the city centre. This was subsequently revised to take account of the relevant experience in Madrid and contained a number of changes in comparison to the original business case. These changes reduced the capital cost of the proposal significantly and involved a shorter, more direct route and fewer stations changes in design. At my request, the RPA is doing further work on this revision. I expect to bring my proposals on the metro to the Government in the coming weeks.

I understand that the metro will take approximately four years to build. As the project will be a public private partnership, there is a strong incentive for the bidders to minimise the construction period as payment will not commence until the service is in operation.

The precise route and hence costs will depend on a number of factors including the Government decision; geo-technical surveys; negotiations with bidders; and the railway order process, including the public inquiry. In preparing a submission for the Government on this matter, the merits of all alternative solutions and routes will be considered. Again, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any of these alternatives in advance of Government deliberations on the matter.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport has recently commissioned a report on the metro. My Department, the RPA and the Dublin Transportation Office have met with the consultants who are assisting the committee. I understand that the committee's report will be completed shortly and I look forward to receiving it.