As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government contains a commitment to reviewing public transport policy so as to ensure services are sustainable into the future and are meeting the needs of a modern economy. To advance this commitment, the Deputy might also be aware that I recently announced my intention to establish a Stakeholder Dialogue on the issue of Public Transport.
It is vital that stakeholders have the opportunity to voice their opinions on public transport policy issues and these issues are then considered as part of the formal policy review. I believe that a Stakeholder Dialogue provides the appropriate forum to allow stakeholders to make a meaningful contribution towards policy development. It is also important that the Review will take cognisance of recent developments in other relevant areas of public policy such as the preparation of a new National Planning Framework, the Action Plan for Rural Development, a National Mitigation Plan and Climate Adaption Paper for the transport sector. My Department is currently scoping out the proposed approach to the work. The full Review will then take place as soon as possible.
The submission deadline for the mid-term review of the Capital Plan did not allow for the completion of the significant body of work and consultation required to undertake a comprehensive review of public transport policy. With regard to the evidence base for my Department's submission, there is already a significant amount of evidence to support the transport priorities set out in the Capital Plan. The Strategic Investment Framework for Land Transport in particular, provides the basis for the key priorities which are intended to guide transport investment decisions. Furthermore, my Department applies a robust system of economic appraisal and all project proposals are fully appraised and reviewed by an in-house economic analysis team before sanction is given.