Business group welcomes Metro North approvalBallymun, City Centre, Drumcondra, Dublin City, Featured Updates, Fingal, Glasnevin, News, Santry, Swords Friday, October 29th, 2010
One of the main Dublin business groups has welcomed the approval of Metro North.
An Bord Pleanala yesterday gave the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) approval for the segregated light railway line from St Stephens Green to Swords via Dublin Airport.
Fine Gael transport spokesman Simon Coveney also welcomed the approval for Metro North. But he warned that there was an ‘information deficit’ about the project’s business plan.
“For some time Fine Gael has been in favour, in principle, of the Metro North project. It makes sense to dramatically upgrade public transport infrastructure on the northside of the city,” said Coveney.
He said he looked forward to the RPA publishing the business plan which says the project will generate €2 for every euro spent.
“At such a critical time for the economy, it is essential that taxpayers know exactly how much major projects will cost, and what they will gain from them. At this moment, we have only limited information about the project. We need an honest discussion as to whether we can afford it, even under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) structure,” said Coveney.
The RPA said today that a PPP deal could be finalised by the end of next year. However, it said it wanted to start works on diversion of utilities in the city centre and heritage works in March 2011. The Government have yet to give the final go-ahead for the project.
See more details of how Metro North is planned to be paid for here.
Giving approval, An Bord Pleanala attached a number of conditions. The most significant change is that the metro route would go no further than Swords.
The conditions imposed means two stops – Lissenhall and Belinstown – will now be removed from the plans. It is proposed that a new park and ride be placed close to the planned Estuary Stop, between the Estuary Roundabout and the N1 interchange north of Swords. The planned depot will also be relocated from Belinstown to the open land between Dublin Airport and the M50 around where Metro North is planned to link with Metro West.
“The Dublin business community welcomes today’s decision as it provides clarity on how Metro North will be built,” said Gina Quin, chief executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
She added: “We would now call for the RPA to invest in a high profile marketing campaign to communicate this to the general public and key stakeholders as there has been a lot of discussion about the project. It is vital that people understand what changes will be in place and ultimately how Metro North will improve the city.”
Only a small section of Dublin businesses have been against Metro North, most has just called for strict traffic management arraignments.
An Bord Pleanala said that it acknowledged the construction phase of the proposed development would result in serious impacts on the Dublin region, but it said, “It was considered that such impacts were an inevitable consequence of the scale and nature of the project and that the applicant had demonstrated that comprehensive mitigation measures would be employed.”
It said: “The Board accepted that the long term benefits of the scheme would outweigh the short term impacts due to construction.”
Dublin City Council said that the city would remain open at all times for all activates.
Need for infrastructure
“A public transport friendly city is a key feature of the top performing cities in Europe. Therefore infrastructure such as Metro North is crucial for Dublin’s future economic growth. We have the opportunity to develop the most modern system in Europe within five years. It is value for money and funding is structured in an affordable way,” John Tierney, manager of Dublin City Council.
Ciaran Cuffe, the Minister of State for Sustainable Transport, pointed out that over the construction period there are due to be 4,000 direct construction jobs created as well as 2,000 indirect jobs.
“Metro North, a vital piece of infrastructure; ten years in the planning, will benefit the city of Dublin and its inhabitants for generations to come. It represents integrated transport and land-use planning. I am now hopeful that the Government will give final approval to the project so that the works can proceed without delay,” said Cuffe.
Gina Quin of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce added: “Failing to address our sub-standard transport infrastructure with the proper capital investment will only benefit our competitors. The delivery of Metro North is essential to Dublin in attracting international business.”
Quin said: “We have an inadequate public transport system as people are still choosing to drive to the city centre. The project will lead to improved commuting times for the capital’s workforce to the city centre and the surrounding Greater Dublin area.”
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