To ask the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport the status of plans to construct DART underground; if the €3 billion in funding will be allocated in the upcoming mid term capital review; if a public private partnership model to be used; the expected timeframe for planning and construction respectively to commence and be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority's (NTA) Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035 proposes implementation of the overall DART Expansion Programme involving electrification of the Northern line as far as Drogheda, the Kildare Line to Hazelhatch, the Sligo line to Maynooth in the west and to the M3 Parkway and construction of the DART Underground Tunnel. The original cost of the overall DART Expansion Programme (including the tunnel element) was estimated at €4 billion, of which €3 billion was in respect of the tunnel as originally designed.
The Government decided in September 2015 that the original proposal for the tunnel should be redesigned to provide a lower cost solution. The NTA is currently examining this issue and I understand that these deliberations will be completed soon.