Wednesday 21 March 2018

State must spend extra €1bn on transport in next four years - Dublin Chamber

Taoiseach Enda Kenny . Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny . Photo: Tom Burke
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

The Government must focus on increased capital spending in the areas of transport, housing and facilities ahead of tax cuts, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said.

In a pre-budget submission the chamber called on the government to pump the majority of additional funds into public ifrastructure.

In the same submission the business group also recommended that a minimum of €1bn extra be spent on public transport over the next four years.

Dublin Chamber director of public affairs Aebhric McGibney said the amount currently being spent on infrastructure is too low to keep up with a growing workforce and economy.

"Businesses are already feeling the significant cost of increasing congestion. Unless the Government gets serious about addressing the infrastructure deficit then economic growth will slow and Ireland's competitiveness will be eroded," he said.

"Under current government planning, the commencement and delivery of major projects is at least ten years away. Indeed, when work on Luas Cross City finishes, there will be no major transport infrastructure projects 'live' in Dublin. Meanwhile, the GDA will continue to grow."

The chamber director continued, calling on the Government to speed up progress on both the Metro North and Dart Underground projects.

In order to help pay for the increased spend, the chamber recommended the use of public private partnerships as well as the introduction of a retail bond.

"Retail bonds are commonly sold in the United States to finance infrastructure projects and can be bought by citizens in small denominations or by institutional investors in larger ones.

"Retail bonds open an untapped pool of capital and generally reduce the cost of borrowing for issuers. There is good reason to believe that the potential demand for infrastructure retail bonds would be strong, given the low level of interest rates and high levels of Deposit Interest Retention Tax," Mr McGibney said.

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