THE LUAS extension from Tallaght to Citywest will act as a catalyst for further development in west and southwest Dublin, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said.
He was speaking at an event to mark the contract award for the €150 million spur off the Red Line at Belgard running to Saggart in west Co Dublin. Passenger services on the 4.2km light rail link are expected to start in early 2011.
“The new line will deliver quality public transport services to established business and residential communities such as Cairnwood, Ambervale, Belgard Green, Fettercairn, Kilmartin, Brookview and Ardmore and facilitate the rapidly developing Citywest business and residential district,” he said.
“I am confident that this new line will act as a catalyst for further development.”
Mr Cowen welcomed that the line is being developed through a partnership between the public and private sectors. The consortium formed to partner the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) on the project is Citywest Luas Ltd (CLL), comprising businessman Jim Mansfield’s company, HSS, the Davey Hickey property group and Harcourt Developments.
A spokesman for the RPA said the project would cost about €150 million, of which the consortium’s contribution is about 50 per cent.
CLL will provide the land, a large proportion of the civil and track works, a 300-space park and ride facility and a monetary contribution. The RPA is providing the remainder of the infrastructure, including rolling stock, and electrical and mechanical systems.
The contract signed yesterday was between CLL and the construction company BAM, formerly known as Ascon.
An Bord Pleanála approved the project in June. When it was first announced as part of Transport 21 in 2005, the completion date was put at 2008. This has since been revised to 2010.
Mr Cowen said the Government was committed to investment in infrastructure in spite of the difficult economic outlook. “Cutting capital investment would be a much easier step for Government but we will keep investing in order to sustain jobs and economic activity,” he said.
The Taoiseach said a €300 million cut in capital investment announced last week would be achieved through lower project costs. Referring to other Luas extensions, Mr Cowen added: “At the other end of the Red Line, the 1.5km extension to the Docklands is well advanced and will be completed by year-end. And the extension of the Green Line to Cherrywood remains on schedule for completion by end 2010.”
The RPA estimates four million extra passenger journeys will be made as a result of the extension to Citywest and Saggart. It also expects 1.5 million vehicle trips a year will be eliminated by 2016.
Marie Corr, mayor of South Dublin County Council, said the spur would be “a tremendous boost to Tallaght and its environs, from a transportation and also from an economical perspective.”
Fine Gael’s Seanad transport spokesman Senator Paschal Donohoe said: “It is a testament to the Government’s failure to plan adequately that workers in Citywest have been without a high-speed public transport link for over 10 years,” he said.