Sunday 25 September 2011

Varadkar suspends Metro West

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed today he has suspended the planning process for Metro West as funding to construct the new railway will not be available in the foreseeable future.

He said he had instructed the Railway Procurement Agency to withdraw its application for a Railway Order from An Bord Pleanála on the advice of the National Transport Authority.

“Metro West was to be procured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP)..However, a significant Exchequer contribution would also have been required. The successful awarding of a major PPP contract involving private funding is challenging at any time but particularly in current circumstances,” he said.

“No majorPPP project has secured funding since the financial crisis began three years
ago. Until financial credibility is restored, the international debt funding market will be reluctant to lend funds to finance projects in Ireland, the repayment of which is ultimately dependant on the State.

"Moreover, the Exchequer will not be able to make its contribution to the cost in the
foreseeable future.”

Mr Varadkar said Metro West had always been regarded as a long-term project and that many of the communities that it would have served had not materialised due to the
collapse in home building.

“This does not mean that Metro West has been cancelled. However, with very limited funding available for capital projects over the next few years, I did not consider it to be a good use of taxpayers’ money to advance Metro West any further through the planning process, as I do not know when we will be able to build it.

“By the time we are able to build, it’s likely that planning and environmental laws will have changed and railway technology will be different. So we would then have to go back over it all again anyway.”

Irish Times

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