Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2365)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

2365. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for new rail lines in each of the years 2020 to 2024. [32093/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I intend to present to Government, very shortly, the updated Rail Review, including the views of the public and other stakeholders as regards the potential of the rail network to meet the economic, environmental and social needs of the State into the future.

In the meantime the rail network across the State is benefitting from the 23% increase in funding made available to support the maintenance and renewal of the network. This level of funding means the network is now being funded at the 'steady state' level required as measured on an annual basis and will result in a number of benefits for passengers over time, such as improved inter-city journey times. In addition, last week Government announced approval for the construction of a new National Train Control Centre which will facilitate the significant expansion of rail services planned under Project Ireland 2040.

Details of Project Ireland 2040 projects and programmes are available to view on:

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/6db7c4-investment-projects-and-programmes-tracker/

Separately, next year, my Department will commence an evaluation of the economic benefits of high-speed rail on the main inter-urban network against improvements to existing line speeds, as committed to under Project Ireland 2040 .

And the Deputy will also be aware that Iarnród Éireann has engaged consultants to conduct an independent review of a potential extension of the existing Western Rail Corridor and that review is currently on-going.

The Deputy will be agree that it is important to ensure better integration of land-use planning and transport planning so that each may positively influence the other. I am glad to say that in recent years this importance has been reflected in the development of transport strategies for each of the major cities, and that in developing those strategies the potential of rail is carefully considered.

In 2016 the Galway Transport Strategy and the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area were published, while consultation on the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy 2040 has recently ended; work is underway on the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and will start soon on the Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

This plan-led approach toward strategic transport planning underpins the development of public transport infrastructure and allows for an evidence based approach toward any potential expenditure of taxpayers' money.