DART Extension to Balbriggan

15 February 2018

____________________________ 

For Oral Answer on : 15/02/2018 

Question Number(s): 27 Question Reference(s): 7511/18 

Department: Transport, Tourism and Sport 

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QUESTION 

To ask the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the status of the proposed DART extension to Balbriggan; the timeframes for this; the plans for 2018 to advance this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

 

REPLY 

 

The National Transport Authority's (NTA) "Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035" proposes implementation of the overall DART Expansion Programme.  As the Deputy may be aware, the Government’s budgetary framework for capital investment, "Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021", which was reviewed last year in the context of the Mid-Term Review of Capital priorities, delivery and funding, provided funding to progress a number of key public transport projects included in the NTA's strategy. 

The DART Expansion Programme has a key role to play in delivering an efficient transport system.  When fully implemented the enhancements to the heavy rail system provided for in the NTA's Transport Strategy, will create a full metropolitan area DART network for Dublin with all of the lines linked and connected.  This integrated rail network will provide the core high capacity transit system for the region and will deliver a very substantial increase in peak-hour capacity on all lines from Drogheda, Maynooth, Hazelhatch and Greystones. 

Following the Mid-Term Review of Capital priorities, Budget 2018 increased the multi-annual capital investment funding envelopes for the coming four-year period, including providing an enhanced capital envelope of €2.7 billion for public transport investment between 2018 and 2021.  

This enhanced capital envelope includes funding in the order of €230 million for mainline rail and DART capacity enhancement and will allow acceleration of the initial stages of the overall DART Expansion Programme, focussing particularly at this stage on providing additional fleet to enhance capacity, and extending the electrified DART system.  

Specifically, it will allow substantial progress on electrification of the Northern rail line as far as Balbriggan - now expected to be delivered in 2022 - and commencing work on the Maynooth line.  The remaining elements of the DART Expansion programme are being considered in the context of the 10 year investment plan that will be published later this week. 

In light of the NTA’s responsibility in this area, I have forwarded the Deputies' questions to the Authority for further information on the issues raised.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.