I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 242 together.
I think it is important to firstly acknowledge the significant improvements to public transport currently underway, and underpinned by the renewed National Development Plan, which will greatly benefit north County Kildare.
The ongoing renewal and enhancement of our PSO bus fleets and services will benefit Kildare, along with many other parts of the country. The expansion of the existing Greater Dublin Area (GDA) commuter rail fleet through 41 additional rail carriages will also benefit commuters and the travelling public in Kildare, and these carriages are scheduled to arrive next year. Later this month the National Transport Authority (NTA) will launch the second 'spine' of the BusConnects programme, the 'C-Spine' which will benefit Maynooth, Celbridge and Leixlip and introduce much improved bus services across the area. Kildare will of course also benefit from the development of the DART+ programme with two separate projects – DART+ West and DART+ South West – benefitting the county in the years ahead and transforming the capacity and service level of rail once developed. Finally there is also the ongoing construction of the National Train Control Centre which will improve and expand the capacity of the train management system used across our rail network and underpin the service expansion planned under DART+.
Notwithstanding these significant improvements planned or underway the Deputy is right to highlight the need to plan for the future. As the Deputy is aware Kildare forms part of the statutorily defined GDA in the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 and its transport needs are therefore considered as part of the NTA's Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035. The Strategy is currently under review as is required every six years and in reviewing it the NTA must have regard to a number of issues as set out in the Act including ‘demographic, economic, social, travel and transport trends’. A revised Strategy will be published by the NTA shortly and I would encourage interested citizens and public representatives to participate in the consultation process.