Thursday, 22 September 2011
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Tommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
Question 275: To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount spent on Metro North to date; the stage spending, planning and works on the Metro North project are at in view of the current expenditure review that is due this month; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25493/11]
Leo Varadkar (Minister, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
The total expenditure made available by my Department under the current procurement process for the Metro North project is €150.99 million. This expenditure is broken down as follows: €million
Development, design and procurement 63.51
Railway Order & Statutory Approval 15.92
Advance Enabling Works 45.89
Land and property acquisition 25.67
The Railway Order for Metro North became enforceable in December 2010 and is valid for 10 years. As part of the Order, An Bord Pleanala (ABP) decided that the depot for Metro North should be re-located and an application for a separate Order for the depot was submitted to ABP in May 2011. A decision by ABP is anticipated by the end of this year.
As a general point with regard to monies spent on the planning of transport projects, the last government decided to spend huge amounts of money planning road and rail projects without being sure that the money would be in place to construct those projects. I have changed this policy and have instructed both the National Roads Authority, the National Transport Authority and Railway Procurement Agency to rein in spending on planning and preparatory works. I do not believe that it is appropriate to continue to spend millions of euros planning projects when we do not know if we can fund them.
With regard to the Capital Spending Review, Metro North is being procured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and two bidders have been shortlisted. However a significant Exchequer contribution is also required. The successful awarding of a major PPP contract involving private funding is challenging at any time but is particularly challenging in current circumstances where Ireland has been the subject of intervention by the IMF/EU. Until financial credibility is restored the international debt funding market will be reluctant to lend funds to finance projects in Ireland, the repayment of which is ultimately dependant on the state.
The level of funding available for public transport investment from 2012 to 2016 will be dependent on the outcome of the capital expenditure review. A major consideration for transport investment over the next five years will be the need to prioritise funding to protect investment made to date and to maintain high safety standards.
The outcome of the review should be available in the next few weeks. Until the review is completed it would be premature for me to comment further in relation to individual projects.