What is Metro North? How can we pay for it?

What is Metro North?

Metro North is a segregated light railway from St Stephens Green to Swords via Dublin Airport. It is planned to have 14 stops, six of which would be over ground and the rest underground. It is being planned by State agency, the Railway Procurement Agency.

The metro is likely to be served by Luas-like trams, but there will be far higher capacity achieved by vehicles about twice as long and the segregated line allows for more trams per hour.

How much will it cost?

No final price has been set, but the most recent estimate of the cost of the project puts the price tag around €2.5 billion, and not closer to €5 billion as had previously been reported. There seems to be no bases for costs of above these amounts mentioned by some newspaper columnists.

A part-redacted business case report by the RPA puts the cost-benefit at €2 for every €1 spent.

How can we pay for it?

The bulk of the costs are only payable after up to five years of construction and repayments are spread over up to 30 years.

The metro is to be built using a Public Private Partnership (PPP), which means payments for everything but the diversion of utilities would only start when Metro North is opened to passengers. Even at that stage, the payments would be spread over 25 to 30 years.

The European Investment Bank has approved a €500 million loan for works, while the main construction costs are raised by the successful PPP bidder. There are currently two construction bidding groups.

When will construction start?

While approval has been given by way of a railway order, but the Government have yet to give the final go-ahead for the project.

However, the RPA says it wants the diversion of utilities in the city centre and ‘heritage works’ to start in March 2011. The diversion of utilities, otherwise known as enabling works can be done in advance of Public Private Partnership being finalised, which the RPA expects will happen at the end of 2011.

Where are the stops located?

View Metro North in a larger map

Metro North overview:

Video from the RPA:

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