Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
72. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when he expects the business case to be made for the metro north project by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55827/21]
The MetroLink project is currently at Decision Gate 1: Approval in Principleunder thePublic Spending Code.
The key document at Decision Gate 1is the Preliminary Business Case and a draft Preliminary Business Case was submitted to my Department for initial review in line with the requirements of the Public Spending Code. I understand an updated Preliminary Business Case will be resubmitted very shortly and, subject to its compliance with the requirements of the Public Spending Code,I will then be in a position to seek Government approval for the project.
Approval at Decision Gate 1will permit MetroLink enter the statutory planning system. At a project level I understand work is ongoing to complete all the necessary planning, environmental and property referencing documentation required for a planning application, with an expectation that this work will be completed by Q2 next year.
73. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of submissions that were received under the Connecting Ireland public consultation; if he will front-load funding for this scheme noting the findings of the Climate Change Advisory Council annual review which found that there are a number of critical gaps in implementation in which national policy and ambition are not translating into the necessary action needed to meet emission reduction targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62400/21]
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.
It is the National Transport Authority (NTA) that has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. The NTA also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which operates under the TFI Local Link brand.
The Connecting Ireland plan is a major national public transport initiative developed by the NTA with the aim of increasing public transport connectivity, particularly for people living outside the major cities and towns. It will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country. The NTA’s Connecting Ireland public consultation ran from 2nd November 2021 to 10 December 2021. My Department allocated €5.6m from Budget 2022 to the NTA so that as early as next year the NTA can begin investing in these services.
I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.