The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan TD, today (Sunday, 9th March 2003) announced that he has introduced a stringent new control system for major infrastructure projects.
Minister Brennan said his decision to closely monitor the progress of projects is in response to public concerns about the costs of major infrastructure projects.
Under the new control system, Minister Brennan has ordered monthly progress reports on all transport and infrastructure projects that involve significant funding investment by the Department of Transport.
The Minister, speaking in Dublin after unveiling the first 40-metre tram for the 9km Luas line from Sandyford to St. Stephens Green, said he would be making public the findings of each of the monthly reports.
The Minister today published the first of the monthly progress reports on the Luas project.
Minister Brennan said: "Considering the billions of Euro that will be invested in major infrastructure projects over the next few years it is absolutely critical that we now get fully on top of the budgets, timing and delivery of these projects".
Minister Brennan also announced that new cost control and project delivery measures were being introduced for the National Roads Programme which involves an investment of more than €1.2 billion in 2003. And in the area of public transport, for the first time new agreements will shortly be finalised that will set down targets on the reliability, quality and performance of the services to the public by the CIÉ companies.
Under the new monthly control system the Minister for Transport, his Department and the public will be kept fully appraised of up to date developments regarding individual project costs, the rate progress on the project, construction targets and the latest target dates for completion.
Projects for which the monthly monitoring reports have been ordered include the Luas light rail system, the Dublin Port Tunnel and a number of major road building projects, including the M50 South Eastern Motorway, M1 Northern Motorway and the M7 Kildare By-Pass
In addition to the monthly reports, Minister Brennan said he had also instigated the following cost control and project delivery measures for the roads programme:
Instructed the National Roads Authority to instigate a wide range of measures to improve cost estimation and control and to secure greater certainty in the outturn cost of individual projects. These include the appointment of specialist cost estimation staff, the publication of revised specifications, reduction in land take, and the greater use of the Design & Build form of contract.
Minister Brennan also announced that in order to bring greater transparency and accountability to the provision of State support for public transport services to the public the following measures are being implemented:
Service Level Agreements will for the first time shortly be agreed with the CIÉ companies. These agreements will set down the subvention to be paid by the Government and in return will specify the levels of service to be provided to the public by the companies-Iarnród Eireann, Bus Eireann and Bus Átha Cliath-including targets on reliability, quality and performance. These agreements will be monitored on a quarterly basis.
9th March 2003
Tom Rowley, Press Advisor (01) 6041089