The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including the Luas Cross City project. The project is progressing well and to agreed timelines. While all construction projects may give rise to problems from time to time, I understand from the NTA that there are no significant difficulties or unexpected issues arising in relation to Luas Cross City and that every effort is being made to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum as construction proceeds.
The building condition works along the Luas Cross City corridor and the Cellars Infill works have been completed. The Utilities Works commenced at a number of locations in the city centre in January 2014. The tender process for the main infrastructure contract has commenced and the anticipated award date for this contract is November 2014. Work is then expected to commence in early 2015 and to be completed by the end of 2016. Following testing, commissioning and trial runs the line is expected to be operational at the end of 2017.
A Traffic Forum has been established representative of the NTA, RPA, An Garda Síochána, Dublin City Council, and Dublin Bus as well as business representatives and there is on-going consultation between the Forum and contractors on proposed works and traffic impacts. The project Communications Director and local liaison officers also consult and engage on a regular basis with all parties and a city centre Project Information Office is located in Hibernian Way. I also chair a high level project group which includes business and trade representatives to monitor progress at a strategic level and to ensure that the city remains "open for business" while the project is being delivered.
There are currently no plans to develop a light rail system in other cities. The public transport needs of these cities will be kept under review in the context of on-going public transport planning and available funding. Under the current capital plan my Department funds a programme managed by the NTA to improve public transport in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. This programme funds projects such as bus lanes, green routes, cycle lanes and safety measures for pedestrians & cyclists.