As the Deputy is aware the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have statutory responsibilities to develop and deliver MetroLink.
In March this year, the NTA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) launched a public consultation on what is called the “Preferred Route” for MetroLink.
This consultation period followed last year’s consultation held on what was then known as the “Emerging Preferred Route”. During last year’s consultation a number of specific issues were raised by members of the public, and indeed elected representatives, including issues in relation to the proposed upgrade of the Luas Green Line to a metro-style service.
These issues helped inform this year's development of MetroLink’s “Preferred Route”. I understand that approximately 2,000 submissions have been received during this most recent consultation period and those submissions are currently being considered by the NTA and TII and a summary report of submissions will be published by the NTA and TII later in the year.
As regards strategic transport planning for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), the Deputy is well aware of the well-developed, modern, statutory framework which underpins the development of public transport infrastructure. It is a plan-led, long-term and integrated approach toward strategic transport planning with statutory links into land-use planning in the GDA and it reflects international best practice in the field.
The framework is underpinned by the development by the NTA of a statutory Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. The current Strategy was approved in 2016 and sets out a wide range of projects and programmes to be delivered across active travel, rail, metro, light rail and bus. The increased funding made available under Project Ireland 2040 means that we can turn the ambition of the Strategy into reality and fund construction of the various prioritised projects over the next 10 years.
The Strategy is, however, flexible and allows for consideration of demographic and other changes over the period to be considered every six years. This statutorily required review period also allows for consideration of whether there are additional projects and programmes that warrant inclusion within any revised Strategy. I understand that the NTA will commence a review of the current Strategy toward the latter half of 2020 and that will allow for stakeholders to make their views known.
Those who seek to overturn this plan-led approach toward strategic transport planning endanger the advances made in integrating transport and land-use planning in recent years, advances which are vitally important if we are going to deliver a more sustainable Ireland in the years ahead.