Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (257, 258, 259, 260)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

257. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has requested the Railway Procurement Agency to carry out any further preparatory work on Metro North before the end of 2015. [29708/13]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

258. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he recognises that there remains a huge demand among our constituents in north and west Dublin and east Meath that the Metro North project should proceed when the troika programme is completed. [29709/13]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

259. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he anticipates that the current forecasts for development of Dublin Airport and its huge economic zone and hinterland by the mid-2020s make the case for preparing to construct Metro North before 2016, a key element in Ireland's economic revival. [29710/13]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

260. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department and-or the Railway Procurement Agency have investigated any possibility of funding the construction of Metro North in conjunction with metro systems in other European capitals and in view of the recent international consulting success of the RPA. [29711/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 257 to 260, inclusive, together.  

Following the comprehensive review of capital expenditure carried out in 2011 and against the background of difficult funding realities a decision was taken to defer the Metro North project together with a number of other proposed new projects. Given the limited funds available, the decision was taken that the main priority to 2016 is to protect investment made to date, to maintain safety standards. and to progress affordable projects  such as Luas Cross City which add value to the existing network. 

While Metro North was being procured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a targeted  EIB loan of up to €500 million it also required a very significant Exchequer contribution to support the PPP. This Exchequer contribution is not affordable within the funding envelope now available for transport projects to 2016. In addition, the successful awarding of a major PPP contract involving private funding of the size required for  Metro North is challenging at any time but is particularly challenging in current circumstances. The road  PPPs currently being progressed require a much smaller private sector involvement and do not require any further  Exchequer support  for construction.  Furthermore, securing the closure of these much smaller roads PPPS has proven challenging, with only one, so far, having being brought to financial close since 2008.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is currently preparing an Integrated Implementation Plan for investment to 2018  in the GDA as required under the DTA ACT 2008. This plan will address the investment needs of the Swords /Airport corridor to 2018 based on available funding and will be subject to public consultation later this year. Furthermore I have asked my officials to prepare a Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport which will inform future investment plans and this work which will include a review of Metro North as well as other projects is underway. Metro North is postponed not cancelled and is kept under review.