Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Rail Network Projects
600. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if and when he made the decision to reduce the weight or role that wider economic benefits play in benefit-to-cost ratios and business case analyses that are used to determine the viability of public rail projects, as alluded to by the National Transport Authority to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications on 3 November 2015. [41827/15]
Questions related to the views or work of the National Transport Authority should be directed to that organisation as is appropriate. On the general subject of transport appraisal, guidance and requirements are set out in both the Government Public Spending Code (which is subject to revision and updating) and my Department's Guidelines on a Common Appraisal Framework for Transport Projects and Programmes. These documents outline a coherent and detailed framework within which all appraisal in the transport sector must be carried out. This ensures consistency and methodological robustness. My Department's Economic and Financial Evaluation Unit will shortly be publishing updated Guidelines and this will be published on our website.
Transport appraisal is a developed field both in Ireland and internationally. Traditionally, transport user benefits, such as travel time savings, accident reduction and emissions savings, have been captured and the methodology in this area is standard. The area of wider economic benefits is a developing one and, accordingly, is not currently a central part of the appraisal process in terms of generating Benefit to Cost Ratios (BCR). Typically appraisals will qualitatively list such impacts through a Project Appraisal Balance Sheet. Where methodology allows, appraisals do include a quantitative and modelled assessment of the wider economic benefits. However, these are typically reported in addition to the standard BCR.