I propose to take Questions Nos. 2340 and 2341 together.
As the Deputy is aware, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including the DART Expansion Programme which includes the extension of the DART to Balbriggan.
As part of Project Ireland 2040 the funding priority in relation to the DART Expansion Programme is to ensure delivery of the non-tunnel elements of the programme over the next ten years.
The initial sequencing of investment will therefore focus on -
- electrification of the Northern Line to Drogheda (including Balbriggan),
- electrification of the Kildare Line to Hazelhatch,
- electrification of the Maynooth Line to Maynooth and M3 Parkway ,
- better utilisation of the Phoenix Park Tunnel,
- expansion of the rail fleet, and
- other measures such as re-signalling and junction/station changes.
The DART Expansion Programme's remaining element is the DART Underground Tunnel (also known as the DART Interconnector) as referred to by the Deputy. Project Ireland 2040 commits toward establishing the route of the DART Underground Tunnel and ensuring its protection to allow for its future delivery.
Noting the NTA's responsibilities in the matters raised, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.