‘The case for electrifying the line is compelling’

Joan Burton TD has called on Transport Minister Shane Ross to prioritise the building of the extended DART line to Maynooth.
The National Transport Authority’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035 proposes the implementation of the DART Expansion Programme.
This includes the electrification of the Northern line as far as Drogheda, the Kildare Line to Hazelhatch, the Sligo line to Maynooth in the west and to the M3 Parkway, and construction of the DART Underground tunnel.
However, it was later decided that the original proposal for the tunnel should be redesigned due to the €4.5 billion cost of the original plan.
Deputy Burton said that she was disappointed that this had taken priority over the expansion to Maynooth.
She said: “The electrification of the Maynooth Line was prioritised under the last Government in 2015 and the progress to date has been disappointing. The case for prioritisation of the Maynooth Line is compelling and irrefutable.
“The Maynooth line runs through an area of major employment with employers such as Intel, NUI Maynooth and many suburbs in Dublin West.
“The Dublin 15 area adjoining the Maynooth line has residentially zoned lands for another 3,000 new homes.
“Given the growing population there is a need for additional capacity on the line and this can only be done by upgrading the existing diesel service to a DART system.”
She added that she felt that money from the proposed part sale of AIB should be put towards completing the project as the country’s debt level has now decreased.
In response to Deputy Burton’s comments, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: “Due to constraints on funding, not all of the elements of the DART Expansion Programme can be progressed during the lifetime of the Government’s Capital Plan ‘Building on Recovery Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016 – 2021’.
“Funding has been allocated for the extension of the DART to Balbriggan and for work on the redesign of the tunnel.”
The spokesperson also said that a mid-term review of the Government’s Capital Plan is underway and the Minister will be seeking to improve the funding available for public transport in that context.
It is hoped that this will include increased funding to accelerate implementation of the DART Expansion Programme.

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