Monday 11 December 2017

Metro North to open by 2027 in 'climate friendly' overhaul

Metro North is expected to be open for business in 2027
Metro North is expected to be open for business in 2027
Transport Minister Shane Ross (left) listens to Junior Minister Brendan Griffin during a Budget press briefing Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Paul Melia and Cormac McQuinn

Construction work on Metro North will begin in 2021 and the light rail system will be open for business six years later, the Government has announced.

A €750m complete redesign of the capital's bus network, more than €110m for walking and cycling facilities in the cities, and improvements to the rail network will make a four-year transport investment programme the "most climate-friendly" ever, Transport Minister Shane Ross claimed.

Announcing a €7.5bn investment programme out to 2021, Mr Ross also said that construction of Metro North will begin in 2021, along with a €4.2bn roads package to tackle bottlenecks.

The amount to be spent on public transport is €2.7bn, with another €215m for sport and €168m for tourism. The Department of Transport will also fund a €35m scheme to back new ideas to help decarbonise the transport sector.

Metro North is expected to be open for business in 2027
Metro North is expected to be open for business in 2027

Mr Ross said the measures would help address climate change, and tackle congestion.

"My top priority is to rapidly increase investment in public transport. We need to do much more than add new buses to the existing network. The impact of climate change is very real.

"The regions, as well as Dublin, will benefit from climate-friendly investments totalling €280m. It is the most climate-friendly transport package ever planned."

Mr Ross also confirmed he did not seek tax breaks for rural publicans to ferry customers home as part of Budget 2018. However, he said he was working with Fine Gael and others including vintners to explore potential options for preserving rural social life amid his crackdown on drink-driving.

"We discussed in a very constructive way possible ways of relieving the problems of people who are going to pubs and can't drive home and whether there is any way that that could be met by publicans and others bringing them home," he said.

Irish Independent

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