Dáil Éireann - Volume 688 - 09 July, 2009
Written Answers. - Transport Projects.
Deputy Joe McHugh Deputy Joe McHugh
Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether all aspects  of the Transport 21 plan will be completed by the 2015 deadline; his further views on whether capital transport investment projects are a means to restore lost economic competitiveness and provide short term employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28487/09]
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Deputy Bernard J. Durkan
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which the capital spending programme for his Department is expected to alter in each of the next three years with particular reference to the targets he identified when he launched Transport 21 in respect of road and rail projects; if it is intended to increase capital spending to offset certain aspects of the economic downturn; if he expects any of the projects to be brought forward or accelerated; if he has identified the most likely areas for opportunities to improve the economic situation throughout his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28428/09]
Deputy Mary Upton Deputy Mary Upton
Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if he has made submissions to the Department of Finance and the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes regarding capital funding for critical Transport 21 projects in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on his priorities for capital transport spending up to the end of 2010. [28411/09]
Deputy Noel Dempsey Deputy Noel Dempsey
Deputy Noel Dempsey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 36 and 56 together.
Transport 21 continues to provide the strategic framework guiding Government investment in transport up to 2015.
To date, over 60% of the major inter urban roads programme, linking Dublin with Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and the Border with Northern Ireland, has been completed and the remainder is under construction and on target for completion in 2010. The upgrade of the M50 motorway is also on target for completion in 2010. On public transport, new railway stations have opened on the Kildare line and Irish Rail has completely modernised its intercity rolling stock under Transport 21. A number of projects such as the Midleton rail line, Phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor and the Luas line to Docklands are scheduled to be completed this year, while construction continues on other projects such as the Luas lines to Cherrywood and Citywest, the first phase of the Navan rail line between Clonsilla and Pace and the Kildare rail project.
However, in the light of the changed economic circumstances, it has been necessary to review investment priorities across all Government Departments. As a result of this review, my Department’s priorities for the coming years have been identified as follows: national roads, completion of the five major inter-urban motorways by end 2010, progressing the Atlantic Road Corridor, increasing public transport capacity through construction of Metro North, construction of DART Underground and implementation of the associated electrification, signalling and rolling stock investments, investment in buses and bus priority, subject to the Deloitte/TAS cost and efficiency review of the CIE bus companies and the availability of subvention, continued planning of other Transport 21 projects to ensure that a shelf of work is ready to go to construction when the economic climate improves.
Transport 21 projects will be released for construction as soon as they are through statutory procedures and the available financial resources permit and consistent with the priorities I have outlined.
The continuation of the Transport 21 programme as planned will provide significant job opportunities within the civil engineering construction sector. Transport investment has significant employment benefits, sustaining about 10 direct jobs per €1 million of expenditure.  However, the primary purpose of investment in transport infrastructure is to add to Ireland’s capital stock and help support the development of a competitive productive economy in the long term.
In January this year my Department supplied briefing on all aspects of its Vote to the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes. However the primary focus of the Group is on current expenditure.
My Department is in constant dialogue with the Department of Finance and discussions in respect of Budget 2010 will begin shortly as part of the normal annual Estimates process. My Department is also working with the Department of Finance and the NDFA to maximise private investment in transport infrastructure.
Dáil Éireann 688 Written Answers. Transport Projects.