Major rail projects hit buffers with €183m already spent
TWO of three major public transport projects in Dublin will be shelved because there is no money to build them, the Government admitted yesterday.
A total of €183m has already been spent on the three projects -- Metro North, the Luas link-up, and Dart Underground.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar revealed yesterday it was not possible for all of them to go ahead.
"All three won't go ahead," he said. "It is not possible for all three to go ahead. But that is not to say that they won't ever go ahead."
However, Mr Varadkar said he was determined to see at least one getting off the ground over the next five years.
Speaking at the final testing of the new €150m Luas Citywest line yesterday, the minister said a decision on which project would get the green light would not be taken until September.
Mr Varadkar said that while preliminary works on the projects had continued "funding has not been identified and timelines for construction are uncertain. We can't go on planning for projects without being able to fund them," he added.
Work on the proposed €4bn Metro to Dublin Airport has already cost €135m; the Dart Underground €40m; and a further €8.2m has been spent on the link up between the two unconnected Luas lines in Dublin city centre.
Mr Varadkar described the transport case for the Metro as excellent.
"But the question the government has to answer between now and September is first of all do we have the exchequer funding to pay for the exchequer part of it and is the private funding going to be available," he added.
"But one thing I am determined to see happen during my term of office is to see at least one of the big three rail projects proceed."
The minister said the decision would hinge on how much was in the capital budget for a major public transport project and which one would produce the most benefits.
Mr Varadkar stressed that a decision had yet to be taken.
Services on the new 4.2km-long Luas link to Citywest and Saggart start in July.
It is a spur from the existing Tallaght line, branching off at Belgard.
The project was partly financed by a private sector consortium, comprising businessman Jim Mansfield's company, HSS; the Davey Hickey property group; and Harcourt Developments.