The Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O'Rourke TD, today announced the commencement of the procurement process for phase one of Dublins new metro. The metro, when fully completed, is expected to carry over 200 million passengers annually.
At its meeting today, the Government gave the go-ahead for the new Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) to seek Expressions of Interest from companies or consortia wishing to take part in the bidding process to design, build, operate and finance the new system. The RPA was established formally on 28th December last and is charged with the development of rail-based public transport through public private partnerships (PPP).
The entire 70 kms of the metro is to be built in phases. Twelve to 14 kms of the whole system will be underground.
Phase One comprises a line from Dublin Airport to the city centre and Shanganagh near Bray (to link with the DART) with a spur to Blanchardstown. The LUAS line to Sandyford will be upgraded to metro status. It is hoped to complete this phase by 2007.
Phase Two will involve the extension of the Blanchardstown line southwards through Clondalkin and Tallaght to the City Centre, a spur from Citywest to Tallaght and the extension of the Airport line to Swords.
The Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) in its blueprint document "A Platform for Change" first outlined the metro plan. The DTO has estimated the construction cost of the entire metro system at €7.2 billion. However, more precise costings will depend on the PPP process and will be determined by issues such as route alignment, commercial development potential and station location. It is likely that the project will be funded by a combination of State and private sector finance.
Minister O' Rourke stated: "The PPP approach allows us combine the traditional strengths of the public sector with the efficiencies of the private sector. I believe it will result in the speedy delivery of the metro and will achieve greater value for money.
"Metro represents the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the State. Today marks the start of a process that will result in the construction of a public transport system which will last for a hundred years or more. Many cities around the world have rapid transit, underground rail systems and now Dublin can be no exception.
"There is considerable interest in this project from around the world. I have no doubt that many of the companies which have expressed an interest and have formed consortia are preparing to become involved in the Dublin metro once this process gets underway. This competitive element will result in best value for money for the State and for the travelling public.
"We have given priority to the Airport route. Despite the terrible events of September 11th, passenger numbers at Dublin Airport are set to rise significantly over the next few years. Dublin is one of the few capital cities in Europe without a rail link to its airport. It is vital that a fast efficient transport system is in place to meet these demands.
"Today represents an important one in the delivery of the Dublin Transportation Office blueprint, A Platform for Change. Metro is one part of that overall blueprint. With LUAS coming on stream next year, more quality bus corridors, over 400 extra buses for Dublin, additional suburban and DART rolling stock and services, great strides have been made in the past 18 months on delivering on the promise of that strategy."
16th January, 2002