City businesses will be disrupted during LUAS development - Minister Varadkar
Cross city link will be in construction until at least 2017
The European Investment Bank has agreed in principle to provide significant funding - approximately €163m - for the Luas cross-city link in Dublin.
However, the minister warned that the LUAS development will not be without its issues during construction.
“There will be disruption, no doubt about that, but the city will stay open for business. We’re doing everything we can to minimise the disruption" he promised.
The estimated costs of linking the red and green lines in the city centre stands at €368m.
Negotiations with the bank are expected to start in the coming days. It is hoped they will be finalised early next year.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said if funding is secured from the investment bank, it will be at a competitive rate.
"The board of the European Investment Bank has endorsed the LUAS cross-city project and has agreed to provide a low interest loan to Ireland to help fund the cost of construction," the minister told RTE Radio 1 this morning.
"They are willing to make up roughly €163m, which is half the cost of the project. The general principle is that the EIB funds are about half the interest rate of the market rate."
Questioned as to whether the country could afford the cost of the initiative, Minister Varadkar said that the benefits would be obvious.
“It’s not just about linking the existing LUAS lines or even linking the LUAS to the commuter network which it will do. It really transforms rail-based public transport in the greater Dublin area. It will make all sorts of journeys possible which are not possible now,” he said.
"There will be 800 jobs created in construction and 60 when it’s finished. It will add about 8-10m journeys per year to the rail network. And it will take about 3 million car journeys off the roads."