To ask the Minister for Transport his views on the progress made in relation to the development of the Metro North project; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Paul Connaughton. (Nominated by: Olivia Mitchell).
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 21st February, 2007.
Ref No: 6591/07
Answered by the Minister for Transport
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), the Agency with responsibility for Luas and Metro projects has made progress on Metro North including completion of a comprehensive public consultation process on route selection.
This consultation process included distributing over 100,000 newsletters, advertising widely on national and local radio and in national and local press, holding six public open days, and meeting with residents associations and other representative groups along the proposed routes. The merits of the consultation exercise were clearly demonstrated by the emergence of an alternative route to address concerns raised by local residents and key stakeholders. That route was also the subject of further public consultation.
I announced the preferred route of Metro North on 19 October 2006.
On the 21 December 2006, the RPA announced the publication of an information notice for the Metro North project in the Official Journal of the European Union ("OJEU"). This is the first significant move in the tendering process for the Metro North public private partnership. The primary objective of the information notice is to encourage the widest participation in the project to achieve competition and value for money.
It is expected that the Board of the RPA will make a decision shortly to proceed further with the procurement process for the project.
I expect the RPA to commence the Railway Order Application process in consultation with An Bord Pleanála before the end of this year. It will then be a matter for An Bord Pleanála to consider and make a decision on that application.