Rail Users Ireland statement on The National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 and DART Underground
November 25th 2010
While Rail Users Ireland welcomes the commitment to build Metro North which will deliver a substantial piece of much needed infrastructure which will integrate with existing rail services, Rail Users Ireland expresses grave concern at the continued delay in authorising the DART Underground project.
While the dire economic situation of the state is undeniable, it is essential that key infrastructural elements which will support recovery are promoted and prioritised. The statement released on the Irish Rail website is typical of the company's subservience in towing the government line and typical of the company's failure to provide any leadership and be publicly vocal in campaigning to improve the rail network and passenger services.
Despite the clear acknowledgement by many stakeholders that the DART Underground project is the most important project in Transport 21, the project has been continuously delayed and obstructed. It must be recalled that had the government delivered on its promises in Transport 21 and the National Development Plan, Metro North would be built by now and be in the construction phase for DART Underground.
As always parochial political concerns have outweighed common sense and the needs of the country as a whole. The Dublin - Navan rail project, a project which hasn't even applied for planning permission, is apparently funded. This of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact the Minister for Transport is based in Navan and again highlights the kind of misguided political meddling which authorised the Western Rail Corridor against the advice of consultants and even the Department of Transport. After all we were all told that Navan could not completed unless the DART Underground was built to release the capacity to enable this service.
Once again our elected representatives have failed to grasp the significance and contribution the DART Underground project to our economy, our competitiveness and our infrastructure:
* Construction will employ up to 7,000 directly and several thousand more indirectly.
* There is no cost to the Irish state until the day of opening which at best is 2017 if construction started as previously planned in 2012.
* Provide a revolution in rail transport by integrating all local, regional and intercity rail services together with Bus, Luas and Metro services across the Dublin region.
* Deliver an additional 60 million passenger journeys per annum, tripling rail passenger numbers.
* Deliver a substantial improvement in national competitiveness, by easing congestion and transporting goods, workers and visitors in a timely manner and at a reduced cost, thereby helping economic recovery.
* Operate at a surplus and therefore can contribute to funding the rail network as a whole.
DART Underground project is a public private private partnership and is therefore not a capital project.