The Deputy is aware of the statutory framework established by the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 (as amended) in relation to strategic transport planning and transport infrastructure delivery within the Greater Dublin Area.
This framework established what is now known as the National Transport Authority (NTA) and gave it a number of important statutory responsibilities.
One of those important statutory responsibilities is the development of a transport strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) as provided for by section 12 of the Act.
The objective of the strategy is to provide a long-term strategic planning framework for the integrated development of transport infrastructure and services in the GDA. It also provides a clear statement of transport planning policy for the GDA, around which other agencies involved in land use planning, environmental protection, and delivery of other infrastructure such as housing, water and power, can align their own investment priorities. It is an essential component, along with investment programmes in other sectors, for the orderly development of the GDA over the next 20 years.
In developing that strategy the Act requires the NTA to have regard to relevant national level transport policies as would be developed by my Department and approved by Government where relevant.
Of those national level transport policies for example, the Deputy is aware of Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future, which committed to a major overhaul of bus services, such as that proposed by BusConnects.
The Act requires the NTA to consult with a wide range of stakeholders during the development of the strategy, including the Joint Oireachtas Committee.
The Act also requires that the NTA submit a draft of its transport strategy to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport for his or her approval.
The Strategy put forward a strategic level approach toward delivering an efficient, reliable and effective bus system for the GDA and set out high-level principles with regard to development of a core bus network of 16 radial corridors and the development of a number of orbital corridors also.
In February 2016 the then Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport approved the draft Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035 and since that time the NTA has sought to begin delivery of the Strategy and its ambitious programme of investment.
It is the statutory responsibility of the NTA to provide public transport infrastructure and services in Dublin and their development of the BusConnects at a project level reflects that responsibility and fits within the statutory framework described above.
My Department regularly meets with the NTA to discuss relevant issues, including in relation to the delivery of BusConnects.
As Minister I am of course kept informed by my Department as required and have also met with the NTA to be specifically briefed on certain issues as I deem appropriate. The most recent meeting I held with the NTA in relation to BusConnects was prior to the launch of the public consultations on the development of the new bus corridors.