Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Department of Transport
Question 678: To ask the Minister for Transport his views on the energy and CO2 efficiency of rail transport; the reason there was no meaningful discussion of rail in the recent Smarter Travel policy document; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39403/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 677 and 678 together.
As acknowledged in SMARTER Travel the Government is undertaking major investment under Transport 21 in public transport including in mainline rail, suburban rail, light rail and metro services as a key means of improving the sustainability of our transport system by improving its fuel efficiency and reducing its carbon emissions. In the period 2000-2008 over €2.5 billion has been invested in the upgrading of the mainline and suburban rail network. This has resulted in a 36% increase in passenger numbers.
Luas has attracted a further 27 million passengers per annum to rail services. SMARTER Travel, Transport 21, and the recently agreed revised Programme for Government envisage an increasing role for rail transport. This support for rail is one element of the overall strategy of Smarter Travel to get people to shift to alternative modes from the car.
Question 679: To ask the Minister for Transport if he envisages extension of the rail network outside Dublin as part of the increased public transport expenditure to occur from 2011 onwards as part of a Revised Programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39404/09]
Question 680: To ask the Minister for Transport his views in principle on the re-opening of former rail routes and links here when there is a positive business case for doing so; the routes and links which should be examined in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39405/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 679 and 680 together.
In the Renewed Programme for Government, we have committed ourselves to 'the provision of a safe and efficient network of rail services'. We have restated our commitment to the completion of the first phase of the Western Rail Corridor and have also made clear that work will continue on the subsequent phases of the Corridor for earliest possible delivery.
Work is ongoing on Phase 1 of the Navan Rail link, and services are expected to commence towards the end of 2010. As we have stated in the Renewed Programme for Government, we will progress work on Phase 2 of the Navan link for the earliest possible completion.
My Department will in due course working on the development of a successor to Transport 21. In this context my Department has recently asked Iarnród Éireann to undertake a strategic review of the national rail network in anticipation of the development of a successor to Transport 21. Of course, decisions on investment in the rail network in future years will be taken in light of the overall exchequer allocation available to my Department, which will be contingent on the prevailing economic circumstances.