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Dublin Commuter Coalition responds to transport spending in National Development Plan

PRESS RELEASE - 4 October 2021

Sustainable transport advocacy group Dublin Commuter Coalition expressed their disappointment about the lack of projected completion dates associated with the MetroLink and DART+ projects in the new National Development Plan and the lack of spending breakdowns for sustainable transport and road projects.

On MetroLink, Kevin Carter, Chairperson of Dublin Commuter Coalition said “We're four years into what was supposed to be a ten-year project and the government can't tell us how soon after planning approval it can start construction or how long it will take to construct. That's just not good enough and the people of Dublin deserve better. Despite the lack of certainty over completion dates, we hope that projects like MetroLink, BusConnects and DART+ can be completed without further delays.”

Dublin Commuter Coalition also welcomed the funding for design and planning of DART+ Tunnel and the Navan railway. However, the group highlighted that, in terms of completed projects in the Dublin area, this new 2030 NDP contains exactly what was supposed to be completed by 2027 in the old NDP with the potential for Luas Finglas to progress to construction stage. A member of Dublin Commuter Coalition, John Cleary, said “With three additional years and the recent commitments to reducing our carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, we were hoping for a lot more than that.”

Dublin Commuter Coalition also expressed frustration with the lack of spending breakdowns for public transport and road projects. Of the €35 billion allocated for transport, there are reports that there's €12bn for public transport, €6bn for roads, €4bn for walking and cycling and €13bn for maintenance. Public Relations Officer Feljin Jose said: “This mysterious €13bn maintenance allocation is a departure from the previous NDP. The two "road protection & renewal" programmes listed in the NDP includes "traffic enhancement measures to improve the efficiency/capacity" of roads and "targeted improvements" in addition to maintenance. The €80 million M50 traffic flow improvement programme is also to be included in this. We’re concerned that this will result in road expansion and road capacity projects being classified as maintenance. This would mark a total abandonment of the commitment in the Programme for Government of a 2:1 investment in public transport relative to roads. Without a detailed breakdown of what's in the €13bn, we're being asked to take the government's word that the 2:1 funding commitment is being adhered to.”

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