The extension of the DART to Balbriggan forms part of the overall DART Underground project which was postponed in 2011. Due to financial constraints, the Government's current capital plan to 2016 did not provide for the DART Underground which was planned as a PPP but with a very significant level of Exchequer support.
DART Underground remains a key element of the overall public transport integration strategy and would deliver benefits for each of the four rail corridors radiating from the city centre.
Like other major projects which were deferred, DART Underground was due to be reviewed in preparation for the next capital plan post 2016. However, this review has been brought forward as a consequence of a recent High Court Judgement on the DART Underground Railway Order which ruled that the period for serving Notices to Treat for the purpose of compulsory purchase of property under the Order should be 18 months rather than the seven years set out in the Railway Order. This means that a decision on whether to proceed with DART Underground under the current Railway Order must be made by September 2015.
As a consequence I have asked the National Transport Authority (NTA) to update the business case for the project and to review funding options. I expect to have a report from the NTA by late summer and will consider the options for the project over the following months having regard to the outcome of the review, its affordability, other competing priorities and the Government position on funding for infrastructure post 2016.
I am also referring the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply as I understand that as part of its overall research and planning for public transport in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) it has reviewed the option of electrification from Malahide to Balbriggan as a stand-alone project. The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.