Thursday 19 July 2018

Colm McCarthy: Metro Link figures simply don't add up

Is spending all that money on another Luas line good value? That amount would build seven hospitals, writes Colm McCarthy

Big plans: Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Heather Humphreys at the launch of Project Ireland 2040. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Big plans: Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Heather Humphreys at the launch of Project Ireland 2040. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

The biggest single project in the National Development Plan released last Friday is a new tram line for Dublin, formerly called Metro North and re-christened Metro Link. This will be a Luas line, not a full-gauge railway, from Swords into the city.

The project is scheduled to cost €3bn, making it not only the largest component in the overall plan, but also the largest investment project ever proposed in this country. The previous cost estimate was €2.4bn: the increase is apparently due to a route revision, which will see a longer tunnel under the city centre intersecting the existing green line at Charlemont, almost 2km south of the Liffey. The trams would then be able to travel on to Sandyford and points south already served by the green line.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin queried what he inferred from the initial reports as a second line to Sandyford, which would have made little sense. He is to be forgiven for the confusion though, since the map that reveals the new routing is buried in the voluminous documentation that accompanied the plan. Anyway, he is partly correct. The new route will indeed duplicate some parts of the green line, recently extended with the opening of the Cross City section.

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